Pakistan: Federal Relief Commission completes its relief operation

ISLAMABAD, Mar 31 (APP): The Federal Relief Commission Friday completed one of the biggest ever relief operations in the country, following the destruction of October 8 earthquake in NWFP and Azad Kashmir.
Federal Relief Commissioner Lt. Gen. Farooq Ahmed Khan at his final press briefing here at the Prime Minister Secretariat said that the Commission has completed its relief work and it would stop its functioning by Saturday.

He said the 'residual relief work' being done in the quake hit areas would be now supervised by Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA).

Expressing satisfaction on the relief operation, Lt. Gen. Farooq said it could be completed with the generous support from the Pakistanis living inside and outside the country, Kashmiris, and international NGOs and friendly countries.

Giving details of the relief operation, the Federal Relief Commissioner said 950,260 tents were provided to over 500,000 houses damaged in the quake, 6,293,581 blankets were distributed to 3.5 million affected people, 245,974 tonnes of rations, 3,053 tonnes of medicines, 130,994 tonnes of miscellaneous goods.

The Federal Relief Commissioner said the latest death toll was 73,338 and 69,412 were seriously injured and 58,897 were injured in this earthquake.

Appreciating the support and help of international organizations from various countries, the Federal Relief Commission said till March 31, total sorties generated for the affected areas were 30,337.

He said all major and secondary roads have been cleared and all the fixed lines as well as digital exchanges in NWFP and AJK have been restored.

Regarding medical help, he said, many countries helped Pakistan and established their field hospitals to provide prompt medical treatment to the affected people.

He said total casualties received from the quake affected areas were 658,219 while 2,238 are still admitted to the hospitals out of which 67 are in the field hospitals.

The Federal Relief Commissioner said 374,272 shelters have been completed while 39,292 are under construction for those who have been displaced due to the October 8 earthquake.

Federal Relief Commission said that so far Rs. 20 billion have been distributed as compensation among the victims of the earthquake.

Giving details of the compensation, he said, Rs. 5185.700 million were distributed for 51,857 person who lost their lives, Rs.929.267 million among 43,980 injured and Rs. 13829.650 million for 549,186 damaged houses.

Replying to a question he said Rs. 25,000 were distributed to each family as initial compensation while next instalments of Rs. 75,000, Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 50,000 would be given by ERRA during the phase of reconstruction.

About the prices of construction material, the Relief Commissioner said, the ERRA would prepare a mechanism to check the prices.

Federal Relief Commissioner said reconstruction would be started from April under the supervision of ERRA.

He said the work on Disaster Management Agency to provide relief in case of any future calamity like earthquake was going on.

Replying to a question, he said, on the proposal of President General Prevez Musharraf five points opened across Line of Control remained useful for exchange of relief goods.

He however said Pakistan's proposal was to open these seven points on daily basis but India was ready to open it for once in a week. He said if these points would remain open for seven days, there could be more help to the victims of earthquake at each side of the Line of Control.

Thanking the media, people of Pakistan, expatriates, national and international NGOs for their general support and cooperation in the relief operation, he said, "with dedication and commitment we can face any challenge".