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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has said that according to preliminary estimates, $ 10 billion would be required for the rehabilitation of flood-affected areas.

Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, the minister said that funds from the development budget would be diverted for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-affected areas.

However, he said the calamity has also provided an opportunity to build back the lives of poor households in an organised manner.

He said that the country is faced with food security challenge due to the unprecedented floods and steps are being taken on an emergency basis to ensure supplies of essential commodities to the people. For this purpose, alternative options such as imports of items are also being considered, he said.

The minister said that the calamity has claimed over 1,150 lives and damaged about one million houses.

The floods have affected 30 million people, he said. He said that the PML-N in its last tenure had prepared a flood protection programme. He, however, regretted that the PTI government did not spend a penny on the implementation of this programme.

He said had the programme been implemented, the current losses caused to infrastructure, agriculture, and human lives could be averted to a great extent.

Iqbal also strongly condemned the PTI for trying to sabotage the IMF Programme. He said the revival of the IMF program has provided a space to the government whose efforts are focused on turning around the economy and putting it on strong footing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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