PR. NO.203

August 15, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said a major task before the government is to carry out relief and rescue operations in the flood affected areas and all its resources are directed towards this end. He said that the Control Rooms of the NDMA and the Cabinet Division are operating round the clock to coordinate the rescue and relief operations ensuring provision of food, medical kits, tents, blankets and other necessities of life to the flood affectees.

He was talking to Ms. Ghulam Bibi Bharwana MNA who called on him at PM’s House here this afternoon.

The Prime Minister said that the public representatives should personally monitor the situation in their respective areas and they must spend maximum time with the affected people to help mitigate their miseries.

The Prime Minister said that that the next challenge before the government is rehabilitation of the affectees for which the private sector and philanthropists should also come forward. He assured that every single penny collected for flood affectees will be spent transparently on the relief and rehabilitation work.

Ms. Bharwana apprised the Prime Minister about her visit to various flood hit areas and the relief activities being carried out by the government organizations.


PR. NO.204

Government of Canada Pledges up to $33 Million in Response to Floods in Pakistan August 14, 2010
August 15, 2010

The Honourable John Baird, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and the Honourable Senator Salma Ataullahjan announced today that the Government of Canada will provide up to $33 million to respond to the most urgent needs of flood-affected populations in Pakistan. They made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, says a press release received here today from Ottawa.

“The trail of devastation and the desperate humanitarian situation caused by the floods have worsened with the continuing rains,” said Minister Baird. “This contribution will help meet priority needs, which include food, water and sanitation, emergency medical care and shelter, essential household goods, logistics and coordination efforts, and the deployment of Canadian relief supplies.”

Pakistan has been hit with the worst floods in at least 80 years. The floods have left more than 6 million people in need of emergency assistance, have caused hundreds of thousands of others to be displaced, and have destroyed up to 85 percent of the infrastructure in the affected regions.

“In response, up to $25 million will be provided through CIDA for humanitarian assistance. Through this contribution, Canada will work closely with its partners to ensure that the needs of affected populations are met,” added Minister Oda.

“In addition to CIDA’s funding for humanitarian, life-saving assistance, the Global Peace and Security Fund, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, will provide $8 million in urgently needed equipment to help the Government of Pakistan better protect its people,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon. “Our contribution will restore linkages to communities cut off by the flooding and enable local authorities to provide security to those affected by this disaster.”

The $8 million will be allocated in two phases-immediate and short-to-medium term. Bridging equipment will be provided immediately. Other operational support, which could include tents and equipment for life support, water purification, and communications to address security needs, will be considered after further assessment.

Today’s announcement builds on more than $69 million in CIDA funding since 2009 for Pakistan. This includes bilateral aid programming, as well as $37 -million for humanitarian assistance, for such initiatives as food assistance, emergency shelter, water and sanitation facilities, and basic health care for conflict-affected people in Pakistan. For further information, please consult CIDA and DFAIT web pages on Pakistan.


PR. NO.205

UN Secretary General calls on the Prime Minister

August 15, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has called on the United Nations to send a strong message to the international community, foreign corporate leaders and civil societies to show solidarity with Pakistan and its flood victims in this hour of need.  He hoped that the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on flood situation in Pakistan scheduled for August 19 would serve as a catalyst for the mobilization of much needed international support for the affected areas in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister was talking to Mr Ban Ki – Moon, UN Secretary General who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House here this afternoon.

The Prime Minister thanked the UN Secretary General for his personal interest in expediting relief assistance and termed his visit as a source of great encouragement for the government and people of Pakistan particularly for the flood victims in these trying times. The Prime Minister apprised the Secretary General of the collossal devastation caused by this unprecedented natural calamity and identified four areas of immediate requirements i.e. provision of tents, food stuff, medical supplies and water filtration plants for the affected people.

The Prime Minister stated that while his government has mobilized all its national resources to provide rescue and relief in the flood affected areas but the scale and magnitude of the challenge was much beyond the capacity of a developing country like Pakistan or perhaps even a developed country.  He highlighted the fact that in order to ensure complete transparency in the disbursement of funds as well as relief goods, an independent Commission comprising of eminent people of impeccable integrity was being established in consultation with the leaders of major opposition parties in the country to oversee the relief efforts. 

While underscoring the damage caused to the basic services and infrastructure in the affected areas, the Prime Minister stated that reconstruction phase is likely to take years but Pakistan needed help to immediately repair and reconstruct some of the important bridges on priority basis to gain access to certain areas which have been cut off from the rest of the country and where the stranded population needed immediate relief.  Noting that second and third waves of floods might turn out to be more dangerous for already affected areas, he appealed to the international community for provision of helicopters, boats and hovercrafts on urgent basis to help his government in the rescue operations and provision of supplies to the affected population in the coming weeks.

The UN Secretary General stated that he considered it his duty to visit Pakistan to observe the situation by himself and to express strong solidarity and sympathies with the flood affected people.  He assured the Prime Minister that UN would undertake every measure possible to expedite the relief assistance and accelerate the pace for its delivery to the affected people.   He noted that UN so far had already committed $ 27 million out of its Central Emergency Response Fund and had launched an appeal for Pakistan’s flood affectees on August 11 for US $ 459 million.

Mr Ban Ki-Moon said that a review of this appeal and response to it would be made within a month after the assessment of Pakistan’s requirements to cope with this situation.  The UN Secretary General stated that after visiting the flood affected areas of Pakistan today, he would submit a report to the UN General Assembly on August 19 and would try to mobilize international community through a special plenary session for Pakistan flood affectees, FoDP meeting in Brussels in October and in the forthcoming annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington DC.  He stated that areas of concern of the government of Pakistan for providing immediate relief are exactly the same as of UN and the UN is already focusing its relief efforts in those areas.  He also assured the Prime Minister that all the efforts undertaken by the UN and its related agencies for the flood victims in Pakistan will be in coordination and under the leadership of government of Pakistan.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Secretaries Foreign Affairs, Defence, Chairman NDMA, Mr Abdullah Hussain Haroon Pakistan Permanent Representative to UN and senior officers were also present in the meeting.


PR. NO.206

August 15, 2010

President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday called for greater international support and assistance to cope with the gigantic task of relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims and mega programme of reconstruction of the property and infrastructure damaged by the deadly floods.

The President said this during a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon, who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Sunday.

The UN Secretary General was accompanied with Ambassador Vijay Nambiar, Sir John Holmes, under Secretary General OCMA, Mr. JEAN-Maurice Ripert, special envoy for Assistance to Pakistan and senior staff of the Secretary General.

Those who attended the meeting included Shah Mehmood Qureshi, foreign minister, Senator Rehman Malik, Interior Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, finance minister, Mr. Qamer Zaman Kaira ,information minister, Mr. M. Salamn Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Ms Farzana Raja, Chairperson BISP, Mr. Salman Bashir, foreign secretary, Mr. Abdullah Husain Haroon, Pakistan’s permanent representative to UN, Lt. Gen ® Nadeem Ahmad, Chairman NDMA, Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar and other senior government officials.

Briefing the media abut the meeting, spokesperson to the President former senator Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that the President briefed the UN Secretary General about the colossal damage to life, property, livestock and infrastructure as a result of the unprecedented floods in the history of Pakistan.

The spokesperson said that the President informed the Secretary General that 71 districts throughout the country had been hit by floods including 24 in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah, 19 in Sindh, 8 in Punjab, 7 in AJK, 7 in GB and 6 in Balochistan. Nearly 1400 people have been killed, Over 720,000 housed destroyed and over 1.2 million people adversely affected, the President said.

The extent of total damage to life, property, cattle head and infrastructure may be far more than what these initial estimates suggested, the President said.

The President said that the Government and people of Pakistan are thankful to the UN for immediately appealing to the world community for nearly 460 million Dollars in emergency aid.

The President said that the challenge was so huge for any government or party to undertake on its own and added that it could be faced only with the rigorous efforts of the people of Pakistan, Pakistani community living abroad and the support and assistance of the international community and donor agencies.

Ban Ki Moon expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives and massive destruction of infrastructure and property in the floods in Pakistan. He said that UN would stand by the government and people of Pakistan in these critical times. He pledged continued support and assistance of the UN for the humanitarian relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims.

The spokesperson said that after meeting at the Presidency, President Zardari and UN Secretary- General together left for visit of the flood affected areas.  Farhatullah Babar said that the UN Secretary- General wishes to convey to the affected people the sympathies and support of the UN and the international community. He will also make preliminary assessment of the extent of damages in the areas that he will visit.

The President apprised the UN Secretary General that the government is vigorously working for an early completion of damage and need assessment so that all available resources could be mobilized in a more efficient manner to undertake reconstruction and rehabilitation. He said that international bodies like the World Bank and ADB would also be approached for damage and need assessment which would be used for seeking assistance from the international community in the task of rehabilitation.

The President said that the floods brought widespread devastations to the already damaged economy as a result of the fight against terrorism and added that the government while harnessing indigenous resources also look forward to the international community for assistance.


PR. NO.207

August 15, 2010

Mr. Amjad Ali Sher, Consul General of Pakistan has called upon all expatriates, UAE Nationals, welfare organizations and international community to come forward to support the flood relief efforts in Pakistan at this difficult time and contribute generously to the Relief Fund for the victims. He said we’re making rapid contacts with individuals and organizations and briefing them about the flood situation and the kind of items required dealing with the emergency in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan Consulate has opened a bank account according to the provided preliminary guidelines for the facilitation of donors and organizations living in UAE.  He said that according to the guidelines, while donations from individuals and NGOs in the form of kind and cash are appreciated, at this stage in order to avoid wasting time and resources on transportation of relief items, it is preferable that cash donations are sent to the Consulate General of Pakistan (Flood Relief Fund 2010) whose details are given below:-

Currency in Dirham’s

Account No                :           010-3966-5

Branch Code              :           0907

Branch Name             :           United Bank Limited, Bur Dubai

                                                Branch, Dubai-UAE.

He also urged upon the international community that Pakistan who’s economy had already suffered colossal losses due to relentless war against terrorism needed international support immediately as the unprecedented torrential rains and devastating flood have destroyed crops and food storages, washed away bridges, roads, communication and energy networks, causing losses running in billions of dollars. He said relief activities can only be carried out by helicopters, boats and hovercrafts, while due to hot and humid weather, spread of various types of diseases and epidemic was a serious threat which can further compound the already grave situation.  He said that to avert a second phase of deaths through diseases we need immediate international help. Consul General said that international community should need to rise to the occasion and reach out to the flood victims, says a press release received here today from  Dubai.


PR. NO.208


Islamabad August 15, 2010

Chairperson UK Conservative Party, Baroness Ms. Saeeda Warsi rang up Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani today to express solidarity on the damage done by the recent floods in Pakistan. She assured the Prime Minister that UK would extend all out support to Pakistan in this time of trial. She further said that Pakistan can inform regarding the essential requirements that would be sent immediately.

The Prime Minister thanked the Baroness for her concern. He apprised her regarding the latest situation of floods in Pakistan.

PR. NO.209

Islamabad August 15, 2010

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has emphasized the importance of developing greater understanding within and outside the country of the magnitude of the damage done by the floods in Pakistan. He also stressed for ensuring that the funds received are handled with transparency and efficiently thus utilizing them to maximize their impact. He said that given the scale of the damage done by the floods, it is important for all segments of the society to come together.

He was talking to Federal Finance Minister Mr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh who called on him at PM’s House here this afternoon.

Overall economic situation with particular reference to the impact of the recent floods focusing on the strategies for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood hit areas was reviewed in the meeting.

It was decided to further develop the idea agreed between the Prime Minister and the PML (Quaid) Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in  their recent meeting in order to evolve an institutional arrangement which is not only responsible but would also  win the confidence of both the citizen and overseas partners.
The Prime Minister directed the Finance Minister to work expeditiously in this regard.