A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan, talks are underway on the possibility of India extending humanitarian aid to Islamabad.
According to an Indian Express report on Tuesday (August 30), discussions are underway at the highest levels on the possibility of extending humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.
While no decision has been taken yet, top officials in South Block are learnt to be discussing the options on the table. If cleared, it will be the first time since the BJP government came to power in 2014 that India will be extending aid to Pakistan on account of a natural disaster. In the past, under the then UPA government, India extended assistance to Pakistan for the floods in 2010, and for the earthquake in 2005, it added.
Also read: Floods to cause $4 bn loss to Pakistan’s economy: Report
Importing vegetables from India
Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said on Monday that the government could “consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India”, according to a Radio Pakistan report.
“We will open duty-free import, make it easier and I also want to say that we will consider importing through the land border with India because these prices (of vegetables) are not sustainable,” he said.
On Monday, PM Modi tweeted, “Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy.”
Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 29, 2022
This was Modi’s first statement on the Pakistan floods.
The death toll from the devastating floods in Pakistan has crossed 1,100. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led cash-strapped government has made a desperate appeal for aid to deal with the crisis that has displaced 33 million or one-seventh of the country’s population.
At least 1,136 are dead and 1,575 injured, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the chief national organisation tasked to deal with natural calamities.
Also read: Rain emergency declared in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
It said that about 1,051,570 houses were totally or partially damaged, leaving millions of people without food, clean drinking water and shelter.
Around 7,19,558 livestock are also dead, as millions of acres of fertile farmlands have been inundated by weeks of constant rains.
Unable to cope with one of the worst catastrophes, Pakistan sought international help and the world has responded, with humanitarian assistance and solidarity messages coming from several countries.
Citing an aide to Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif, the BBC said the country was desperate for international support.
“Pakistan has been grappling with economic issues, but now just when we were about to overcome them the monsoon disaster hit,” Salman Sufi said, adding that funding from a lot of development projects had been rerouted to the affected people.
The US, UK, UAE and others have contributed to a disaster appeal, but more funds are needed, officials in Islamabad said.
Last week, the UN said it had earmarked 2.6 million pounds for relief measures in the country.
The first Turkish plane with relief goods for flood victims arrived on Sunday.
Similarly, the Turkish Red Crescent Society is providing cash assistance of Rs 16,000 and 300 kits, 600 jerry cans, and 1,500 mosquito nets to 300 families in Jafferabad.
Moreover, 100 tents and 1,000 blankets will be sent by air cargo along with humanitarian aid by the Ministry of Interior, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkiye said.
Planeloads of relief goods
The first flight from the UAE, carrying over 3,000 tonnes of relief goods arrived at the PAF Base Nur Khan on Sunday.
At least 15 planeloads of relief goods from the UAE would land in the country in the coming days.
Watch: Pakistan floods: Over 30 million people affected; death toll crosses 1,000
Qatar Charity, a humanitarian and development non-governmental organisation, has delivered aid to flood-affected Afghan refugees and the underprivileged members of the host community in Balochistan, in collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
The aid has benefited more than 9,000 Afghan refugees and individuals from the host community.
The Canadian government allocated $20,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for flood relief operations in Pakistan, Canada’s International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said.
(With Agency inputs)