Besides safeguarding maritime interests of Pakistan, Pakistan Navy (PN) has always been at the forefront to conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations overseas to extend support/help to international community. The resolve and commitment of Pakistan Navy was evident at numerous occasions in the past including assistance rendered to Maldives and Indonesia after Tsunami in 2004, rescue of MV Suez Crew from Pirates in 2011 and successful conduct of humanitarian operations to evacuate stranded Pakistanis and foreign nationals at Yemen in 2015. Recent conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in support of flood stricken Sri Lankan populace is also another glorious chapter of the same zeal and commitment of PN.
In the aftermath of severe floods in May 2017 which caused havoc and devastation in Sri Lanka, leaving hundreds dead and millions displaced. Realizing the gravity of the situation and with the objective to help Sri lankan people, Pakistan Navy ship Zulfiquar with embarked helicopter Alouette which was on an overseas deployment to South-East Asia was diverted to Colombo, Sri Lanka, upon the instructions of Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. While enroute to Sri Lanka, the ship conducted search operations while remaining close to southwestern coast of Sri Lanka in order to ascertain extent of damage and spillover.
The ship carried relief goods, paramedical facilities and medicines. Upon arrival at Colombo Port, Pakistan Navy ship was received by Commander Western Naval Area Sri Lankan Navy Rear Admiral NPS Attygalle, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan Mr. Janbaz Khan, Defence Advisor of Pakistan Colonel Rajil and other high officials of Sri Lankan Government.
In a ceremony, held onboard PNS Zulfiquar the same day, the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra and Commanding Officer PNS Zulfiquar Captain Faisal Javed Sheikh handed over the relief goods to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ravi Karunanayake.
On the occasion the Sir Lankan Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude to the people of Pakistan in general and Pakistan Navy in particular for a swift response and providing valued assistance at time of need. The minister acknowledged that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy long lasting and brotherly relations based on historical ties and Pakistan has always been forthcoming in extending support and assistance in a time of calamity.
Later, on the same day Pakistan Navy teams, in collaboration with Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Local District Administration, started Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Operations and established medical camps at various flood stricken rural areas.
During the 4 days operations, Pakistan Navy Search and Rescue Teams, with required technical equipment reached to the far flung areas of harsh topography, comprising marshes, swamps and unpredictable waterways in severely affected districts of Horna, Malwana, Kalutara and Raxapana to help the flood stricken populace.
Pakistan Navy teams rescued/evacuated a large number of flood stranded population from far flung villages, provided medical treatment and medicines to flood affected families, restored fresh water supply to local population by decontaminating wells, cleared roadways and passages by de-flooding marshy areas and last but not least, also provided edibles, fresh water and dry ration to displaced families, mostly women, kids and the elderly. Pakistan Navy’s ardent and unflinching support immensely helped to restore activities of life amongst the population of far flung villages. Sri Lankan political and military higher echelon acknowledged and highly appreciated Pakistan Navy’s efforts for helping Sri Lankan people in the hour of need at all forums.
Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, expressed that 'prompt and timely help to Sri Lankan people is a display of Pakistan Navy’s unflinching resolve in support of a friendly nation in times of need.'
Naval forces have an inherent capability of flexibility and reach which have been clearly manifested/employed during the HADR operations in Sri Lanka by Pakistan Navy. The current operation signifes the professional acumen and commitment of Pakistan Navy to conduct such a prompt and large scale operation involving diverse technical and professional expertise. Pakistan Navy is resolute in maintaining and delivering on its commitment to the nation and global community for providing any assistance to keep Pakistan’s flag higher. Pakistan Navy ships, flying the green flag around the globe are reflection of national character, resilience and unrelenting commitment to the humanitarian cause.
Public Relations Directorate (Pak Navy)