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The Deluge of Floods: Yet another Combat
(Pakistan Army continues with Spirit of September)
Lieutenant Colonel Farooq Ahmed
In Pakistan the floods occur as a consequence of monsoon rains due to monsoon system which develops from the east. This year the monsoon rains were forecasted to be plus 10% of the previous year which was safe and well within the normal limits. However, as a consequence of a westernly system which entered Pakistan and its comb with the monsoon system resulted in flash floods in KPK, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, AK and Northern areas . Country wide torrential rains caused unprecedented and outrageous floods in all over the country in a decade time. This resulted in the loss of human lives, property, and livestock and damaged to the communication infrastructure.
Pakistan Army in a bid to provide relief and rescue support to the flood affected population commenced its preparations well before the onset of monsoon through its constant flood monitoring system. Army alongwith entire nation is now battling with recent floods all over the country. This has proved to be another challenge for Army already committed to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the soil. The catastrophe is so severe that it has destroyed all the bridges and badly damaged the communication infrastructure in Malakand. According to a UN report the magnitude of the recent floods is much more than Tsunami and October 2005 earthquake. The misery is just unfolding and loss is seems to be much higher than being reported in the media. On the instructions of COAS General Ashfaque Parvez Kayani, all available troops of Army in respective areas have been fully mobilized to provide assistance even before the receipt of formal requisition from civil administration.
More than 65000 troops of Army are actively involved in rescue and relief activities round the clock. Army is working at full pace and capacity to extend maximum help to their countrymen. Army Troops equipped with life jackets, motorboats, heavy rafts to shift families are busy in rescue and relief operations. So far more than more than half million stranded people have been rescued from flood hit areas and moved to the safer places.
Army has established three Aviation Bases at Chaklala, Abbotabad and Tarbela. Special Support Group in collaboration with NDMA is regulating and dispatches the local and foreign relief goods support to people residing in badly stricken places. The marooned people of Southern Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan are being looked after from Bases at Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Sukker and Naseerabad. The Army engineers are busy in opening roads and making diversions to facilitate the flow of traffic and have constructed foot bridges along almost all destroyed bridges. Pakistan Army doctors and paramedical staff are providing necessary medical treatment to the patients. Field hospitals, Medical Camps and Mobile Medical Teams in concert of civil administration are providing necessary medical treatment free of cost in all flood affected areas.
As many as 55 Helicopter including 15 Helicopters from other countries are participating in rescue and relief operations. Army Aviation has dropped 4, 50,000 kg relief goods including ration at various flooded areas. More than 1000 Boats including 50 lives saving Boats are taking part in rescue activities. Animal Transport Battalion is also busy in dumping of ration in inaccessible areas in Malakand. Pakistan Army doctors and paramedical staff are providing necessary medical treatment to the patients.
Furthermore, in the line with their tradition, soldiers of Army felt proud and shared 2500 tons of rations from its own with the marooned people.
Army will also contribute meaningfully towards rehabilitation and reconstruction activities and stands committed to reconstruct and rehabilitate flood affected areas in collaboration with civil administration. COAS also announced the donation of one day salary of all ranks of Pakistan Army in Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, established for the flood affectees. The people of Pakistan are one of the finest in the world. Full of zest for life, capable of struggle and strife; which can stand in front of any natural calamity or internal and external threat. All kinds of challenges can definitely be met with a united front of its people, government and its Armed Forces unfaltering fortitude.