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Minister claims 50 died in earthquake

QUETTA:

Provincial Minister for Public Health Engineering and WASA Noor Mohammad Dummar has claimed that at least 50 people were killed and three times more injured in the Harnai earthquake in Balochsitan.
“Federal and provincial governments, domestic and foreign donors and philanthropists should play their role for the rehabilitation of earthquake victims,” Dummar said.
“Rs3 million per head for earthquake victims and Rs4 million for rehabilitation of houses should be announced,” he added.
He said that the people of Harnai are in dire need of the aid from their countrymen, adding that Rs5,000 to Rs6,000 per head in aid is a joke with these people.
“The Balochistan government should take the matter seriously and take concrete steps,” he expressed these views while addressing a press conference in Quetta.
Haji Noor Mohammad Dummar said that like different parts of Balochistan, a severe earthquake struck Harnai district on October 7 at 3am.
Hundreds of people have been affected by the quake. The official figures for the number of people killed and injured in the quake are contrary to the facts, he blamed.
“I went to various places and inspected the situation of the earthquake first hand,” he maintained.
The minister said that the quake completely destroyed the neighborhoods but most of the people were sleeping outside due to hot weather in Harnai and that is why they escaped unhurt.
However, people have suffered massive financial losses.
“The people of Harnai are poor. They have buried their loved ones without reporting, which is why I say that the official death toll is much higher,” he said.
“This is contrary to the facts. So far, 50 people have been killed and 150 injured in the quake,” he said.
He appealed to the federal and provincial governments, domestic and foreign donors and philanthropists to reach out to the people of Harnai.
He said that more than 300 places were affected by the floods in Harnai a year and a half ago.
“If a person’s house is destroyed by the floods, it will cost at least Rs2 million to Rs2.5 million to rebuild, but the announcement by the Balochistan government for 300 victims was limited to a press release,” he said.
“On my repeated reminders, Rs5,000 has been approved. The people of Harnai are tribal. They must be poor but not beggars. Giving Rs5,000 is a joke,” he said.
Dummar said that the victims of Harnai earthquake should not be treated like flood victims. Serious steps should be taken. Earthquake is a natural calamity for which we should all become one nation and help the victims.
He said that the aid should be provided through the district administration instead of the government so that the rightful owners get it.
Noor Muhammad Dummar demanded from the federal and provincial governments to announce Rs30 to 40 lakh per person for the victims of the earthquake and Rs4 million for the rehabilitation of houses.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2021.

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