Monday, August 16, 2010

Ban Ki Moon tours Pakistan

2010-08-16 05:07:11 - Nksagar - Sagar Media- PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has cautioned against any hindrance in the formation of the body and said the nation cannot afford “any delay in the setting up of the commission. Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Ishaq Dar have been assigned the task of working out modalities for the formation of an independent commission to oversee relief and rehabilitation operations in the flood-hit areas.The two parties agreed on Saturday to set up the commission. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had declared at a news conference with the PML-N chief on Saturday that the government had agreed to Mr Sharif’s proposal for setting up an independent body comprising men of integrity to collect and distribute relief funds among the flood-affected people in a transparent manner.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Pakistan on Sunday to boost relief efforts as concerns grew about the 20 million people made homeless in one of the worst disasters to hit the country.Pakistan has is worst flood swollen by torrential monsoon rains, rivers have flooded mountain valleys fertile plains, wiping out villages and destroying bridges and roads. UN aid of
quarter of the $US459 million aid needed for initial relief has arrived.

UN secretary-general, said that the Pakistan floods are the worst disaster he has ever seen and has issued a fresh call for international aid to help those affected by the crisis.Addressing alongside Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, after a tour of the disaster zone, Ban said on Sunday it had been "heart-wrenching day." "I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today," he said. "In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this'"Waves of flood must be met with waves of support from the world' said Ban. "I'm here to urge the world to step up assistance' UN has appealed for an initial $460 million to provide emergency relief, but only 20 per cent has so far been given.Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, said at least 36,000 people were reportedly suffering from acute watery diarrhoea."We're not suggesting that everyone who has acute watery diarrhoea has cholera, but cholera is certainly a concern and that's why we're stepping up our efforts," he said on Saturday.

Mr Gilani held a meeting with Dr Sheikh on Sunday and “directed him to work expeditiously” on the plan which, according to him, would help win the confidence of the people of Pakistan and foreign donors.More than 1,500 people have died in the disaster and more than 7.9 million acres (3.2 million hectares) of cotton, sugar cane and wheat crops destroyed.

President Asif Ali Zardari has tried to make up for that public relations gaffe by meeting with flood victims in hard-hit areas since returning.

"We are with you. Pakistan is with you, and the people of Pakistan are with you," he told survivors at a relief camp in the northwest's Nowshera city Saturday. He promised the government would rebuild victims' homes.

The 220 KVA grid station at Lodra tripped on Sunday, causing suspension of power supply to more than 20 districts in Sindh and Balochistan.The tripping occurred after water from a number of breaches in the Begari canal inundated the power station.

The floodwater washed away paddy and other crops on thousands of acres but irrigation officials and local administration have managed to save Shikarpur city and gas transmission station after digging ducts under the Shikarpur-Jacobabad railway line near Lodra village.The station supplies power to 14 grid stations in Sindh and three in Balochistan.The water is now moving to Golodero forest area and villages in Garhi Yasin, Khanpur, Shikarpur and Lakhi talukas.
US has begun dispatching marines' helicopters from an assault ship to help distribute food, clean drinking water and medicine.
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