PM Shahbaz cancels UK visit as Pakistan declares floods as national emergency - GulfToday

PM Shahbaz cancels UK visit as Pakistan declares floods as national emergency


A woman and children sit on rope beds amidst rain waters besides their damaged house in Dera Allah Yar, Balochistan, on Thursday. Reuters

The Pakistan government has declared the flood situation in the country a “national emergency,” calling for donations to help rehabilitate the flood-affected people, media reports said on Thursday.

On his part, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has cancelled his visit to Britain and is heading back from Qatar to chair a meeting to review flood relief activities, Samaa TV reported.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb termed the flood situation in the country as a national emergency.

The minister said that the national spirit is required to cope with the devastation caused by the floods in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

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She appealed to the nation including overseas Pakistanis to donate for the rehabilitation of flood victims as a huge sum of money would be required keeping in view the large scale devastation, Samaa TV reported.

Shahbaz, who is in Qatar for a two-day official visit, is heading back to the country in view of the flood situation in the country.

The prime minister has cancelled his personal visit to the UK. He was scheduled to leave for London from Qatar to inquire after his granddaughter who is under treatment there, Samaa TV reported.

Upon his arrival, Shahbaz will chair a meeting where all the relevant authorities, including the National Disaster Management Authority, will brief him about the steps taken for rescue and relief of flood affectees.

FloodPakistan-kids A displaced family looks out from under a plastic sheet while taking refuge on a roadside after fleeing their flood-hit home in Jaffarabad. AP

Meanwhile, the rescue and relief operations are underway in rain and flood affected areas of different parts of the country.

Pakistan Air Force is actively engaged in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit areas of Balochistan, Sindh and South Punjab. According to a spokesperson, PAF emergency response teams are continuously busy in evacuating flood victims to safer places.

The Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority is also busy in relief activities in the flood-hit areas. Over 42,000 persons have been rescued from flood hit areas while medical treatment has been provided to more than seventy three thousand affectees.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, nine people died and six others got injured in different parts of the province due to recent rain related incidents.

According to a report issued by the KP Provincial Disaster Management Authority in Peshawar, three houses were destroyed and eight partially damaged.

Efforts are underway to open blocked roads for traffic in Shangla, Swat and Dir Upper.

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