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Ahsan Iqbal announces ‘new strategy’ as govt decides to shut down flood response center

Ahsan Iqbal announces ‘new strategy’ as govt decides to shut down flood response center

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal announced on Monday that the government had decided to close the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC) and a “new format” would be implemented to continue the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the National Flood Response Center in Islamabad, Iqbal said that the NFRCC was “created with a special aim” and would be now closing “after completing its mission”.

The minister said that the government will continue to combat the post-flood challenge “in a new format, with a new institutional setting, and will keep supervising and supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts —together with the provinces and related authorities”.

The NFRCC was created by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in August to provide a proper institutional response to the calamity and comprised of federal ministers, representatives of armed forces, chief ministers and experts.

According to Shehbaz, its aim was to “serve as a bridge between disaster management authorities, donors, and government institutions”.

NFRCC collected the latest data on flood devastation and oversaw rescue and relief work.

Speaking to media persons today, Iqbal said: “The government has drafted a 4RF (Resilient, Recovery, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation) strategy or framework — which we will present in the form of a conference in front of the international community — to make Pakistan climate-resilient.”

He recalled that the flood catastrophe this year had caused damages worth US$30 billion to the country which was “a loss equivalent to 10 per cent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for an economy like ours”.

The minister added that Pakistan was among the countries most vulnerable countries to climate change and for this “we are also taking the help of the international community”.

Talking about the COP27 climate conference, Iqbal said that the acknowledgment of the damage and loss terms on an international level was a huge success.

He lauded the prime minister, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, and Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman for “presenting the case on an international level in front of the leaders”.

He also thanked the national coordinator of the NFRCC, his team, officers, the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, and the federal government for putting in their efforts to fulfill the tasks.

The minister further urged the people of Pakistan to “play their role” and help provide aid to the flood-affected people who are in dire need of resources amidst winter.

“If you can put on a warm blanket on someone; if you can assist someone in constructing a roof, this is a very huge responsibility of yours that we all have to fulfill together,” Iqbal said.

He reiterated that the federal and provincial governments were “trying their best” and also “taking help from international organisations” but the time to recover from the impacts of the floods could only be reduced if the “people of Pakistan play their role”.

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