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Pakistan

Infrastructure, reconstruction drives to begin soon: Ahsan Iqbal

  • Planning minister says government is focusing on equitable distribution of donations in the wake of floods in Pakistan
Published September 3, 2022

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal stated on Saturday that the government will begin infrastructure and reconstruction drives soon, referring to the widescale damage that had been caused by one of the worst floods in Pakistan in decades.

In a press conference, he also launched a fresh appeal to Pakistani residents and the international community to assist the country in relief and rescue operations through financial aid and humanitarian intervention.

He stated that Pakistan was facing a massive climatic disaster and human tragedy which was the outcome of environmental degradation through global warming and “is not of its own making.”

PM Flood Relief Fund: Ahsan Iqbal wants overseas Pakistanis to donate

“Pakistan’s carbon emission is less than 1% however, we are among the countries that are most vulnerable to the climatic disasters,” he said. “The scale warrants a major humanitarian response for which the support of international community has started pouring in and we are extremely grateful however, the scale of devastation is massive and requires large humanitarian response.”

He cited that as a nation, Pakistan possesses great determination however, the scale of the climatic catastrophe “is so huge that no institution within Pakistan can fight it alone.” According to him, it was time for the whole nation to act as a united force.

He lauded that the National Highway Authority repaired 11 out of 14 highways that were destroyed by floods and work was still underway on the remaining ones.

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“Moreover, 81 grid stations were damaged 15 days ago and up till now, 69 have been restored,” he said. “The floods are a lesson for Pakistan as it proves that buildings should be constructed on waterways.”

Citing that rescue and relief centres were set up in affected areas, he noted that the government was now focusing on providing relief to affectees on an equitable basis. Therefore, donations should not go to just a few easily-accessible areas rather, it should go to remote areas as well, the planning minister said.

Speaking alongside him, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Akhtar Nawaz said that the year 2022 showed the realities of climate change to Pakistan.

“We saw four heatwaves that caused forest fires and monsoon rains began prematurely,” he regretted.

“We had predicted 25% more rainfall this year but it turned out to be 190% higher. We saw glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) as well.

Inter-Services Public Relations DG Babar Iftikhar said that army was conducting relief activities in affected areas. He also notified the establishment of Army Flood Relief and Coordination Centre established and said that Rangers, Frontier Corps, disaster management authorities, army and civil authorities were working to rescue the flood affectees.

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He further gave a briefing on the relief activities being conducted throughout Pakistan.

Major General Zafar Iqbal said that the armed forces were focusing on disbursing aid through coordination so that the affected areas, which are difficult to access, are not deprived of it.

“We are aiming to steer cooperation between federal and provincial ministries to fulfil this aim,” he said. “We will launch a plan to revive and reconstruct the damaged infrastructure.”

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