HYDERABAD - The Sindh Information and Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon has said all political parties in the country should join hands to help the people affected by the monsoon rains.

At a press conference here on Saturday Memon said Pakistan Peoples Party’s Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had directed the party workers to actively participate in the rescue and relief operations in KPK and Punjab. He observed that millions of people were looking towards the government, political parties and the media.

The minister urged all political parties to rise above their political differences and work together for the affected people and said the politics could be done once the country overcame the calamity. “The next few days will be more difficult as floods are coming from the upper areas of the country,” he noted.

The minister said the government’s priority was to rescue the people and to provide them relief and that would be followed by the rehabilitation of the affected and displaced people. According to him, so far 341 deaths of the people had been reported during the rains in Sindh while 1,009 people were injured and 13,623 cattle perished.

He informed that 444,967 houses were partially destroyed and 287,447 houses were completely destroyed. Likewise, he added, the standing crops on 2,798,895 acres of land had also devastated.

The minister apprised that 1,753,308 people had been displaced while around 5 million people had been affected by the rains and entailing flash floods. He put the figure of damage caused to the roads in the province at 2,328 kilometers including 60 bridges while 32 shops and 6 mosques were also destroyed.

According to him, 1,766 flood relief camps had been established throughout Sindh and 485,759 people had been accommodated in those camps.

He informed that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) had provided 89,815 tents, 30,710 tarpaulins and distributed 35,424 ration bags.

Whereas, he added, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had distributed 7,443 tents, 8,900 tarpaulins and 4,780 ration bags. He acknowledged that the local administration and the philanthropists were giving cooked food to affected people in the relief camps.

The minister appealed to the philanthropists and the non-governmental organizations to provide ration or other relief goods to the affected people and assured that the local administrations and PDMA would help them in that regard. The PDMA’s control room could be contacted on the mobile numbers 03355557362 and 02135381810, he said.

The minister reiterated that every affected family would be given Rs 25,000 under Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), acknowledging that the grant was insufficient keeping in view the losses to the assets and livelihood sustained by the affected people. Memon, who is the focal person for relief and rescue in Hyderabad, said 85 percent of Hyderabad’s partially inundated areas had been cleared and the drainage operation still continued.

Replying to a question about propaganda on social media, he clarified that the reports about his farmers inundating villages surrounding his agricultural farms were baseless.

The minister said the Pakistan Army and Navy were helping the civil administration wherever needed.