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Govt vows to help drought victims 'beyond politics'; Nawaz to visit Tharparkar

10 March, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Sunday said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had cancelled important engagements and would visit Tharparkar today (Monday) to meet drought-affected people.

Talking to various private news channels, he said that Thar was part of the country and the federal government considered it its utmost duty to ensure relief and rescue to the people of the area.

He said that the National Disaster Management Authority and the Pakistan Army were already providing assistance to the affected people, as the prime minister took immediate notice of the situation and ordered action.

To a question, the minister said the federal government would assist the Sindh government and would not do politics on the issue.

On the other hand, Pakistan Army, Sindh Rangers and various NGOs have set up their relief camps for the affected people. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), relief teams of the Pakistan Army have distributed 45 tonnes of food.

Army teams are helping the people getting medical treatment and food. A field hospital has been established to provide healthcare to the malnourished and the sick. A team of doctors, including three lady officers and three child specialists, have reportedly treated 1,625 patients so far at the medical camps. Hyderabad Garrison General Commanding Officer Major General Inam is in the area to oversee the ongoing relief efforts, the ISPR said.

Also, a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) C-130 carrying edibles for the people of draught stricken areas of Tharparkar landed at Talhar, a forward airfield of PAF on the instructions of Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt. The C-130 airlifted food supplies for quick dispensation to the draught stricken areas of Thar.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif had said that the federal government would render full cooperation to Sindh for rehabilitation of the victims.

The PM also provided Mi-17 helicopter to the provincial government to rescue famine-affected people of Thar. Senior military officials in Sindh are keeping the PM office abreast about the latest situation in the area. The Sindh government has announced Rs 100 million food package for Tharparkar.

In recent days, thousands of families have been affected by the drought, which compelled them to leave their homes and move to other areas in search of water.

Meanwhile, Sindh CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah has announced Rs 200,000 each for the families of children who died in Tharparkar tragedy. He said the actual number of causalities would be presented to the media.

He was addressing a press conference in Darbar Hall, Mithi. Earlier the CM presided over a meeting convened to review the Tharparkar situation. Talking to the media, the CM said that thorough investigation would be held in view of Tharparkar mishaps and stern action taken against those responsible.

He said that around 100 reverse osmosis plants would be installed in Tharparkar, which would convert bitter water into sweet water.

Qaim said that some impediments were in way to relief activities in the drought-hit Tharparkar.

He said it was time to go together to resolve the crisis and prevent any further loss of life. "We are now providing 50kg each of wheat sacks instead of 25kg to the Thar victims," he said.

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has formed taluka-level committees in all talukas of Tharparkar for judicious distribution of wheat among the affected families.

According to a statement, the committees consist of assistant commissioners, mukhtiarkars and officers of the Food Department, which will distribute wheat worth Rs 420 million among the affected people of Tharparkar.

End.

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