Thursday, September 29, 2022

Pakistan government sets up body totackle devastation caused by floods

Pakistan government has set up a nodal disaster agency to provide an institutional response to the devastating floods caused by record monsoon rains that has displaced more than 33 million or one-seventh of the country’s population.
The country-wide death toll has touched 1,136 as of Monday, with over 1,634 injured and 33 million displaced, according to the latest data issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, the chief national body tasked to deal with calamities.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday that the country would need more than USD 10 billion to rebuild the infrastructure devastated by the raging floods, which roughly translates to 3 per cent of the country’s GDP.
The Shehbaz Sharif-led federal government on Monday set up the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre, which will comprise federal ministers, representatives of armed forces, chief ministers and experts to provide proper institutional response to the calamity.
“The Centre will serve as a bridge between disaster management authorities, donors and government institutions. It will collect and analyse latest information and pass it on to the relevant government agencies. It will also oversee rescue and relief work including restoration of infrastructure,” the PM Office tweeted after the meeting.
The move comes as the “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” is being jointly launched by the Pakistan government and the United Nations on Tuesday, simultaneously in Islamabad and Geneva.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari delivered the keynote address at the launch event, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“What we are facing today has been an above average monsoon. It’s an entirely new level of climate led catastrophe. Nature is sending us all a new message, and because of its geographical location, Pakistan has become the ground zero for this century’s biggest threat;global warming,” Bilawal said.
The conference was also addressed by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“Pakistan is awash in suffering…the Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids — the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding,” Guterres said in a video message.
The FRP will complement Pakistan government’s overall humanitarian response to the recent floods caused by unprecedented rains in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, aid continued to pour in as Canada announced aid worth USD 5 million, while the Chinese government has pledged 100 million yuan to the Pakistan government.
After Queen Elizabeth, her son Prince Charles on Monday extended his heartfelt condolences.
In a message to the President of Pakistan, Prince Charles said, “My wife and I are deeply saddened by the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan. Our hearts go out to all the victims and their loved ones and to the millions of people who have lost property and their livelihoods.”
Heavy water flow downstream from the rivers in the north is threatening to burst the banks of the Indus river in Sindh province, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Sindh province continues to reel under the onslaught of torrential rains as acres of fertile farmlands have been washed away, suffering damages to the tune of USD 1.6 billion, according to the Dawn newspaper.

SourcePTI