Given the unprecedented nature of flood situation in Pakistan during the monsoon season, the Prime Minister had directed for the establishment of a national level response coordination centre to better synergize national response to the disaster caused by the recent floods. Establishment of a National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) with representatives from federal and provincial governments and Armed Forces is aimed to better articulate and synergize flood relief efforts across the country during rescue, relief and rehabilitation/reconstruction stages. The NFRCC will assess, plan, execute and coordinate various facets of the response to the current flood situation while synchronizing internal and international elements of relief efforts besides provision of a requisite preparatory foresight in the long run for introducing required resilience in the national system/infrastructure against such future calamities. The coordination centre will be headed by the Prime Minister with Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives as its Deputy Chairman. Commander Army Air Defense Command will act as the National Coordinator. NFRCC will act as a bridge between government institutions, disaster management authorities and donors to ensure a seamless rehabilitation process of flood affectees all across Pakistan. The primary functions of NFRCC are as under:
▪ Collect and analyze the latest information and share with relevant stakeholders for an apt response, achieving optimum synergy between federal and provincial departments, disaster management authorities, donors and Armed Forces by acting as a bridge.
▪ Oversee and ensure availability of the required resources to facilitate provincial efforts with respect to the ongoing rescue operations. Synchronize and synergize collection efforts of relief items from government departments, relief items collection points and other local donors.
▪ Liaise and coordinate reception, packaging and transportation of relief goods obtained from the international donors with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Identify immediate relief needs of the affected areas in coordination with various stakeholders. Organize a comprehensive joint survey of affected areas by multi-agency stakeholders to enable a merit-based provision of relief assistance.
▪ Oversee the execution of finalized national rehabilitation/reconstruction plan in synchronization with federal and provincial stakeholders along with judicious allocation of resources to enable execution of various projects. Establish priority for revival/reconstruction of damaged and destroyed national infrastructure.
In order to garner international support, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres visited the NFRCC along with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on September 09, 2022. He was briefed upon the current situation and latest developments. Mr. Guterres expressed solidarity with the families of the victim and also said, “it is [also] a matter of justice”. Also, the UN goodwill ambassador, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie also arrived in Pakistan to seek help from international community for flood relief efforts. After visiting the flood affected areas, Angelina paid a visit to NFRCC as well, where she described the situation as “overwhelming”. She also urged the international community to do more.
Damages and Devastation Caused by Floods
In Sindh, 23 districts were affected out of which 12 districts were worst-hit, which includes Dadu, Sehwan (Jmr), Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Badin, Thatta, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Qambar Shahdad Kot, Khairpur, Naushero Feroz, and Jaccobabad. Rescue and relief efforts continue around Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD); Dadu, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Mehar, and Sehwan. In Balochistan, 31 districts were affected. Sohbatpur and Jafferabad were the worst-hit districts where there’s still 2-3 feet water in some areas. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 17 districts were affected by flood which was driven by rain, hill torrents and riverines. Dir, Swat, Charsadda, Kohistan, Tank and D.I. Khan were the worst-hit districts. In Punjab, 2 districts were affected by flood which was driven by rain and hill torrents. The most affected districts were Rajanpur and D.G. Khan.
Relief and Rescue Operations
Mostly, rescue and relief efforts have been completed except efforts around RBOD; Dadu, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Mehar and Sehwan.
Role of Pakistan Army
Pakistan is faced with a challenge of an unprecedented nature where one third of Pakistan is under water. Keeping in view this precarious situation, Pakistan Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) were mobilized for the provision of immediate rescue and relief to the affected districts. Pakistan Army is conducting its massive rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas of the country. Relief and rescue operations has been established under respective Corps Headquarters in coordination with provincial and districts‘ administration to manage/synergize flood relief efforts. So far 524,057 people have been shifted to safe places and more than 137 relief camps have been established by the army. Additionally, 574,025 people have been provided with medicines and medical assistance in around 236 temporary medical centers. Approximately 14,900 tons of ration, 2090 tons of sustenance items including tents, tarpaulins, blankets, mosquito nets and 11.3 million medicines have been collected and distributed by the Armed Forces so far. Apart from this, the Army has distributed more than three days’ worth of ration (approximately 1500 tons), among the common people in the flood-affected areas. In this spirit, all the General Officers of the Army have donated their one-month salary to help the victims while Colonels and below have donated three days of their salary. Apart from this, some officers are also giving financial donations on a voluntary basis.
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