Tuesday, 24 August 2010

1 million people face starvation in Balochistan, says minister

Umrani seeks direct foreign aid, not via Islamabad
* Says more than 5,000 villages and a large portion of national highway has been washed away

By Mohammad Zafar

Occupied Baluchistan: Senior Minister Mir Sadiq Umrani on Sunday said that more than one million people were dying without food, water, medicine and shelter and the Balochistan government was unable to deal with this humanitarian crisis alone.

Addressing a news conference, Umrani, who belongs to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), appealed to Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to help the people of Balochistan in this humanitarian disaster.

“We want direct aid from neighbouring countries and not via Islamabad”, he said, adding that if immediate relief did not arrive, people would start dying of hunger.

“I have spent a week in Naseerabad division and have seen no official from the local administration or any member of non-government organisations (NGOs) in the flood-hit area, and people are living in the open without food and clean drinking water,” he said.

He said women, children and elderly people are crying for food, and there was an immediate need of 0.3 million tents.

The minister said 40 people were killed in the past week while every morning a dead body arrives at Dera Murad Jamali Hospital. Hospitals are crowded with patients and there was shortage of doctors and medicines, he said.

He said hospitals in other affected areas were submerged in floodwater and currently only two hospitals were functioning. How can a deputy commissioner with a couple of subordinates cope with the serious situation? He questioned. Umrani said more than 5,000 villages and 195-kilometres roads, including a large portion of national highway had been washed way and standing crops over 1,86,844 acres had been destroyed.

He said just four helicopters were engaged in relief operations whereas thousands of people were still waiting help in Ghandaka, Jaffarabad and Naseerabad areas.

Sadiq Umrani, who also belonged to Naseerabad, has said that the chairman of National Disaster Management Authority had stopped the different NGOs from helping the flood survivors in Balochistan, “The chief minister had taken up the issue with the federal government seeking immediate action against the NDMA chief.

Provincial ministers of PPP, Younus Mullazai, Tahir Mahmood, Gazala Gola and MPA Ali Madad Jatak were also present on the occasion.

No comments:

Post a comment