Pakistan: Political workers' help sought in quake relief

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By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, Nov 5: Frontier Corps Inspector-General Maj-Gen Saleem Nawaz has said that political workers are creating hurdles in earthquake relief operation by stopping their rivals from going to areas of their influence.

Talking to newsmen after visiting the affected areas of Ziarat district on Wednesday, he appealed to political parties to help the government in the relief operation.

"An unnecessary race has started between the parties for political gains and their workers are stopping each other from carrying out relief work and are also creating problems for government agencies." This, he said, would add to the problems of the affected people.

"Political workers should help government agencies address complaints of the affected people about the relief operation," he said.

However, Maj-Gen Nawaz expressed satisfaction over the relief work and said the army, the FC, non-government organisations and other institutions were helping the people effectively.

Responding to a question, he said that two kinds of people were moving to other areas - those who had doubts about the effectiveness of the relief operation and those who always left their homes and moved to their relatives' places during the winter.

He said there was need to instil confidence in the people. They should not leave their areas because the government would help them till their houses were rebuilt, he said.

He said a survey was under way to asses the extent of losses and 14 teams comprising army, FC, police and local administration personnel were working in the affected areas.

He said the government would provide funds for rebuilding houses on the basis of the survey report.

However, he said, construction work could not be taken up immediately because severe cold weather was approaching.

Maj-Gen Nawaz said a large number of houses had been destroyed or damaged by the quake.

"The government has provided tents, blankets and warm clothes to all the people who have lost their homes."

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