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President visits worst-hit areas in AJK and NWFP

President visits worst-hit areas in AJK and NWFP

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9 (APP) : President General Pervez Musharraf Sunday visited the worst quake-hit areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Hazara Division in NWFP, reviewing rescue and relief operations and assuring the affectees of using all national resources for early redress of their sufferings. The President began his visit with review of relief work at Mansehra and Battal areas of NWFP, which have witnessed extensive damage. Senior officials, overseeing rescue and relief activities, briefed the President about the outcome of their efforts. Addressing the local people, President Musharraf said all national organizations, civil and military, have been employed to alleviate their sufferings.

"The entire nation stands by you in this hour of trial, the civilian and military organizations are carrying out concerted operations to pull the people out of this difficult situation," he said. He had a firsthand account of the extent of the damage and ascertained the assistance required for rehabilitation of the people through his interaction with the people. President Musharraf also had an aerial view of Balakot, one of the worst-hit areas in Saturday morning's earthquake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale. During his visit to the AJK capital, Muzaffarrabad, the President was briefed about the earthquake-wrought destruction by Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat.

A number of houses, schools and buildings collapsed in the aftermath of the earthquake. Outlining the priorities, President Musharraf said the first and foremost consideration is evacuation of the people trapped in debris of the flattened structures. "Then we must supply them food and medicine and provide tents and shelter to the people rendered homeless," he said, informing them about the Government's round-the-clock relief endeavours. He instructed the Frontier Works Organization to strive for the earliest possible reopening of Muzaffarabad-Kohala-Murree road so that relief goods are transported promptly and in required quantities.

"We have sought international assistance in reaching out to the cut-off areas and are working ceaselessly to overcome difficulties in transporting relief goods." President Musharraf visited Bagh and the army unit affected in the area as a result of Saturday's quake. He also visited Rawalakot and addressing the local people informed them that the best possible assistance is on its way for the relief of the victims. At all these places, the President expressed his deep sorrow over loss of lives and prayed to Allah Almighty for grant of courage to the bereaved facilities to bear the losses.

"I am confident that with courage and collective efforts we shall overcome this disaster," he said. He listened to the disaster accounts related by the local people and said the Government would not leave them alone as it is fully focused on mitigating their sufferings through nationwide and immediate efforts. Later, the President flew back to the capital to continue monitoring of rescue and recovery operations.

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