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LAHORE: Chairman of the Ministerial Disaster Management Committee and Provincial Minister for Cooperatives, Environmental Protection and Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Basharat Raja has assured of resettling every flood-affected family in their homes soon.

The reconstruction work on the houses will start as soon as the water recedes, he said, adding that the Punjab government will leave no stone unturned in providing financial resources for the affected people. He was addressing a press conference at DGPR on Thursday.

He said Punjab received a total of 364mm of rain this year which was 85 percent more than normal. “Although pre-monsoon flood warnings and all necessary preparations were made by the concerned departments, however, preparations did not prove to be effective against the unprecedented heavy rains,” regretted the minister.

He said 188 deaths occurred as a result of rains and floods in the entire province. “Apart from this, over 300,000 people were injured while 25,315 houses were damaged,” he said.

According to him, districts of Rajanpur, DG Khan and Mianwali were the worst affected. He said that 644,339 people were affected by rains and floods while more than 200,000 cattle were also perished.

The provincial minister said that Chief Minister Punjab Ch Pervaiz Elahi himself is supervising all the relief activities. “Flood-affected areas have already been declared a calamity hit. At present, the relief work is in the final stages, and then the most crucial phase of rehabilitation will begin,” he further told the media.

He said that a relief package has been approved by the Chief Minister for the affected people. “Compensation of one million rupees will be given to the next of kin of each deceased person. Earlier, aid was not given for the construction of kacha houses, but this time the government will also provide aid for the reconstruction of kacha houses,” he announced.

He said 184 relief camps were established in the affected areas. A total of 33,478 tents, 4,400 bags of flour, 68,637 food hampers, more than 3,000 pots and thousands of water bottles have been distributed in three tehsils of Rajanpur, four tehsils of DG Khan and one tehsil of Mianwali.

According to him, the Punjab government has released Rs100 million to Deputy Commissioner DG Khan, Rs80 million to DC Rajanpur and Rs65 million to Deputy Commissioner Mianwali immediately. “Any additional funds required will be provided,” he vowed.

He said as usual the overseas Pakistanis are leading in helping their brothers facing difficult times. “During the telethon held a few days ago, on the call of Chairman Imran Khan, crores of donations were collected in a few minutes,” he said.

Raja Basharat said that along with the government, welfare organizations are also actively involved in helping their affected brothers and sisters. “This is a national tragedy. The victims will not be left alone. We salute their courage and passion. We will come out of this difficult time in a better way,” he pledged.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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