Saudi-funded office block inaugurated in quake-hit Rawalakot city

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The complex includes the offices of district government with 25 blocks and was inaugurated on Monday April 22, 2019 - (Photo Courtesy - Saudi Embassy))
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The complex includes the offices of district government with 25 blocks and was inaugurated on Monday April 22, 2019 - (Photo Courtesy - Pakistan’s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority)
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A high-level delegation from Saudi Fund for Development were present at the inauguration ceremony of District Complex Rawalakot on April 23, 2019 (Photo Courtesy - Pakistan’s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority)
Updated 23 April 2019
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Saudi-funded office block inaugurated in quake-hit Rawalakot city

  • Complex opened in Rawalakot on Monday, has 25 blocks for district government offices
  • Saudi Arabia major partner in reconstruction efforts since devastating October 2005 quake in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) completed a complex to house government offices in Rawalakot city in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a spokesperson for ERRA said on Tuesday.
Rawalakot was among the areas hit by a devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Oct. 8, 2005, which wrought widespread death and destruction in Kashmir and parts of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
The death toll from the 2005 quake was more than 75,000 while tens and thousands of buildings, including schools, hospitals, and other state infrastructure, were damaged.
The Saudi-funded complex, inaugurated on Monday, has 25 blocks and will house district government offices, the ERRA official said.
“Government and people of Pakistan highly value the timely contribution of our brotherly country to alleviate miseries of earthquake affected Pakistani people,” the Acting Deputy Chairman of ERRA, Brig Muhammad Latif, said in a statement.
A high-level delegation from SFD, ERRA, officials from the Economic Affair Division, and the Azad Kashmir government were present at the inauguration ceremony of the complex.
“It was the professional commitment and dedication of Adviser Engineer Abdullah M. Al-Shoaibi, Yasir Al Bakri Project Manager Engineer SFD, and Faisal Al Yahya, engineer operation department SFD, that led to the successful completion of the projects,” Latif said.
Saudi Arabia has been an active partner of ERRA in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake affected areas after October 2005.
“SFD provided a grant of US $160 Million for the construction of educational and health facilities in Kashmir and KP, while at present out of 6 mega projects, 5 mega projects have been successfully completed in governance and education sectors in Kashmir,” ERRA said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia is also funding the King Abdullah University in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which is currently under construction and slated to be completed by June 2019, according to Latif.
ERRA’s acting deputy chairman thanked the guests, including the Deputy Head of Mission Habeeb Ullah Al Bokhari, for their support.
According to a UN Financial Tracking Service report released in October last year, Saudi Arabia is ranked fourth among the world’s major donors of humanitarian aid.
In Pakistan itself, the Kingdom has provided assistance amounting to $107.3 million, used in the implementation of 85 projects for displaced people affected by floods and earthquakes between 2005 and 2018, the report said.
In April 2018, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki inaugurated the King Abdullah Teaching Hospital in Mansehra, another earthquake-hit district of KP province.


Pakistani Hajj medical mission gives 24/7 free health care to pilgrims

Updated 22 July 2019
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Pakistani Hajj medical mission gives 24/7 free health care to pilgrims

  • Two separate hospitals in Makkah and Madinah have been set up with 180 doctors
  • Patients with complex diseases are referred to Saudi hospitals where they get free treatment

ISLAMABAD: A dedicated team of doctors and paramedics from Pakistan has been providing round-the-clock, free of cost medical services to Pakistani Hajj pilgrims in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Health, officials said on Sunday.
This year, a total of 200,000 Pakistanis are performing Hajj, a one-time religious ritual mandatory for all Muslims who can afford it. The annual pilgrimage to Makkah is believed to be the world’s largest gathering of its kind, with over two million Muslims attending from across the globe.
“We have deployed fully equipped teams of doctors and paramedics here in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah to provide timely medical care to our pilgrims,” Pakistan’s director for Hajj, Tariq Mahmood, told Arab News. 
He said the Pakistan Hajj medical mission had set up a 35-bed hospital in Makkah and a 10-bed facility in Madinah. In total, the Hajj mission is staffed with 180 doctors including 45 women doctors.
There are other medical personnel as well, including more than 100 nurses, paramedics and dispensers.
The Hajj mission hospital is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art laboratory, x-ray machine, pharmacy and dentistry, Mahmood said, adding that nine dispensaries have also been set up near the pilgrims’ accommodation. 
Dr. Asif Ali, head of Pakistan’s Hajj medical mission, said that this year, the number of ambulances have been increased from 9 vehicles to 18, to deal with any emergency. 
“We are providing medical care to more than five hundred patients daily,” he said. 
It can be assumed this number will spike higher as more pilgrims arrive. 
Patients who come in with severe and complicated disorders and diseases, Ali said, are referred to Saudi hospitals where they are provided free treatment.
“We are thankful to the Saudi government for providing the best medical facilities to Hajj pilgrims,” he added.
Pakistan’s Hajj pilgrims include elderly people, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, hypertension and cardiac issues who require regular check-ups and treatment during their stay in Makkah and Madinah. 
“All public and private hospitals of Saudi Arabia remain fully manned during the Hajj season to provide timely medical care to pilgrims of all nationalities,” Dr. Khalid Abbas Asadi, a doctor at the Dr. Hamid Sulaiman Al-Ahmadi Hospital for 32 years, told Arab News.
He advised Hajj pilgrims to consume the maximum amount of water and fluids during the day, and get proper sleep. He also asked those with pre-existing medical conditions to take their medicines regularly. 
“All Hajj pilgrims are accorded a status of VVIP guest here in Saudi Arabia, therefore it is our foremost duty to take care of them and provide them with all facilities, including medical care,” Asadi said.