ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has sent 4,000 tons of food relief to Pakistan, with the aid provided by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center helping almost 800,000 people worst affected by the disaster.
The floods, caused by abnormal monsoon rains and glacial melt, have submerged vast swathes of the South Asian country since mid-June and killed almost 1,700 people, most of them women and children.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are living in the open, exposed to malaria, diarrhea, dengue fever, and severe skin and eye infections, with stagnant floodwaters, which officials say will take months to recede, increasing disease transmission.
“A total of 4,385 tons of different kinds of relief goods through land route and air bridges have been distributed so far, which benefited more than 785,636 people all across Pakistan,” Dr. Khalid Muhammad Al-Othmani, KSrelief Pakistan director, told reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday.
He said the agency had also distributed 15,000 packages containing more than 1,425 tons of essential food items in the southwestern province of Balochistan, one of the worst hit by floods.
Ten Saudi flights loaded with various relief goods delivered the aid, with packages handed over to the National Disaster Management Authority. Relief goods have also been sent via a land bridge established by KSrelief.
“So far, a total of 65,000 food packages, 50,000 mosquito nets, 5,000 relief tents, and 25,000 NFI (non-food items) kits have been distributed in 51 affected areas all over Pakistan,” Saudi Ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki said.
He added that a field survey will be conducted in coordination with other government organizations to assess damage due to the floods, which swept away and destroyed houses, schools, health centers, water projects, bridges and roads.
“After the data is collected, the scope of the works will be studied, and the facilities will be rehabilitated by KSrelief together with the Saudi Fund for Development,” Al-Malki said.
NDMA Chairman Lt. Gen. Akhtar Nawaz thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for the timely assistance.
“Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan in difficult times, be it the earthquake of 2005, the super flood of 2010, and these unprecedented monsoon-triggered floods now,” he said.
“On behalf of the government of Pakistan and NDMA, I assure you that whatever support is coming, without delay it will be delivered to the affected people in the most proficient manner.”