More relief workers leave for Indonesia’s tsunami-hit areas
* MPs to donate salary for tsunami victims
* NA speaker plans to visit tsunami-hit nations
ISLAMABAD: Another batch of Pakistan Army troops comprising 70 engineers, doctors and paramedical staff left on Thursday from Chaklala airbase in two Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) C-130 aircrafts to be part of the task force for tsunami-hit areas in Indonesia.
Maj Gen Asif Ali, director general army engineers, and Maj Gen Farrukh Seir, deputy surgeon general, saw troops off at the airbase, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.
The first batch of the task force for the Southeast Asian states reached North Sumatra province in Indonesia on Tuesday. The troops left for Indonesia’s worst-hit Bander Aceh province on Wednesday to set up a field hospital for the people devastated by the December 26 tsunami.
Enroute to Bander Aceh, the troops established mobile medical field hospitals to treat local residents who had been badly affected by the tsunami. Over 150 patients were treated by the doctors and were given necessary medicines.
The batch was carrying two tons of medicine for the tsunami-hit people in Indonesia. The troops will set up a 50-bed hospital in Aceh, which would have a minor surgery facility and would meet other medical needs. The hospital will be completed by the end of this week. A fleet of army engineers also accompanied the task force to help relief efforts like the removal of debris, construction of makeshift shelters and rescue operations.
The task force had enough logistic support to carry out relief operations for about a month.
Meanwhile, Chaudhry Amir Hussain, speaker of the National Assembly, on Thursday announced that parliamentarians would donate one day’s salary for the tsunami hit people from South Asian countries.
“Being president of the Association for Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP), I have the responsibility to extend moral and financial support to the people of the calamity-hit countries,” he said at a press conference. He said the tsunami-hit nations needed support.
Asked whether he had sought the parliamentarians’ consent for donating their salary, he said, “I feel nobody will object to donating to the President’s Relief Fund.” He hoped that some parliamentarians would donate more.
The Speaker said he had written letters to the speakers of the parliaments in tsunami-hit countries expressing condolences. “I am also planning to visit these countries along with a parliamentary delegation where I will meet the affected families and my counterparts,” he added.
He said the delegation would comprise members from both the treasury and opposition benches of both the upper and lower houses.
He said he had written to speakers of other AAPP member countries for funds to help the affected countries. The speaker said that this was the worst natural disaster in Asia’s history. He said the emotional toll of the disaster would be far higher than the financial losses and added that it would take a long time for the victims’ emotional wounds to heal.
He said a special prayer in this regard would be offered in the parliament mosque.