ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday distributed compensation cheques among families affected by the recent floods in Pakistan as the death toll from monsoon downpours exceeded 670 in the South Asian country.
Torrential rains have triggered flash floods in several parts of Pakistan since June 14. At least 674 people have died and 1,128 injured in various incidents across the country so far, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province has been worst hit by rains, with 202 rain-related casualties. Sindh has reported 149 deaths, Punjab 144, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 135, Azad Kashmir 34, Gilgit-Baltistan nine, and the federal capital of Islamabad has reported only one death.
On Friday, a ceremony was held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Islamabad, at which the premier said a total of 1.5 million families in the country will be entitled to Rs37 billion ($171 million) in cash aid.
“We have decided to issue this instalment of Rs25,000 [per family],” PM Sharif said at the event.
“Within the next three days, Rs37 billion will be given to every household in Pakistan that has been affected by floods.”
The cash assistance will be disbursed to flood-hit families through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) — a federal cash transfer program for poverty alleviation — in coordination with the NDMA.
Sharif said after the distribution of cash, an assessment of damages in flood-hit areas would be carried out with the help of provincial governments and international partners.
During the first phase of cash distribution, the government would provide cash assistance to people in 724 worst-affected union councils across Pakistan, said Shazia Marri, federal minister for poverty alleviation and social safety.
“The Benazir Income Support Program is going to ensure that whatever is announced and whatever has been allocated for the relief work is disbursed to the victims of the recent floods transparently,” she added.