Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed authorities concerned to expedite relief efforts for those stricken by the vicious storm that wreaked havoc in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (K-P) on Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the ‘severe storm’ topped 45 as ten more casualties were reported from Charsadda district.
Premier Nawaz, who is currently visiting the United Kingdom, instructed National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) – the top body dealing with natural calamities – to speed up relief and rescue activities in the rain-affected areas of the province. “No laxity will be tolerated in providing relief to the victims,” Nawaz directed officials of the NDMA, which is working in coordination with Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
The prime minister also announced Rs0.5 million each as compensation for heirs of the deceased, the state-run radio reported. The PM also announced Rs50,000 each for those injured, it said.
The response came after Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which rules the province, and the K-P Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak requested the Centre to come to the rescue and compensate the farmers whose wheat crop was destroyed after the skies opened up. According to CM Khattak, the PDMA is tallying the losses and collecting data of the houses collapsed due to the ‘mini-cyclone’.
Talking to the media on Monday after inquiring after health of the wounded at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), Khattak said a total of 45 persons – including women and children – lost their lives in the disaster. “Over 200 people also suffered wounds due to the heavy rain and hailstorm in the province, specifically the provincial capital and areas lying on its outskirts – Khazana,
Charsadda road and Pakha Ghulam,” he said. Referring to media reports over his late response, Khattak said the province was being run under a mechanism and a system was in place where the health officials, cabinet members and party workers were present to assist the stricken people. “I am neither a doctor nor an administrator but what I can do is to ensure services,” Khattak said, adding that he is monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the departments as well as the health ministry.