India PM Visits Regions Devastated by Earthquake
Rs. 500 Crores Additional Assistance To J & K For Earthquake Relief Announced: PM Visits Affected Parts Of J&K
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh today visited Tanghdar, Uri, and Srinagar which were affected by recent earthquake and reviewed relief and rehabilitation efforts. Following are some important highlights of his opening remarks at the end of the visit interaction with the press at Srinagar Airport:
* “This is a tragedy of unprecedented magnitude
* It has caused extensive damage and devastation in the entire neighbourhood – in Jammu & Kashmir, across the Line of Control and in provinces of Pakistan.
* The causalities have been immense. We have lost almost 950 civilians and 80 defence personnel. This is as per latest estimates. It could be higher as well.
* The total casualty in the neighbourhood as a result of this calamity is in excess of 30,000 and could be higher.
* I am told that over 30,000 houses are damaged. More than 1 lakh people are homeless.
* My heart goes out to all those families who have suffered a personal loss of their near and dear ones and of their property. I have come here to share their grief and agony. We cannot bring back those who are dead but will pray that their families get over the grief and will help them tide over this crisis.
* We will do all that is possible to provide relief to the affected families. We will try our best to ensure that people can resume normal lives as soon as possible.
* The civilian and defence personnel have done an admirable job in providing relief. They have lost some of the colleagues also. We commend their efforts in this moment of crisis.
* Working together, all our agencies have managed to restore water, electricity and communication links in some parts. Hopefully, in the next few days, they will restore them in all parts.
* The Central Government is fully behind the State Government in providing relief and in rehabilitating those affected.
* We have already released Rs. 142 crores for providing relief and rehabilitation efforts.
* We will be providing another Rs. 500 crores for ensuring complete rehabilitation of all those who are affected.
* Housing: This is the biggest problem. While tented accommodation will be adequate for immediate shelter needs, winter is setting in soon and people need protection against cold weather. We will provide pre-fabricated houses or other appropriate houses for all those who have no shelter. No resources will be spared and we will use the services of every agency – central and State to ensure proper housing facilities in the quickest possible time.
* Clothing: In view of the cold weather conditions, people need warm clothing. Wind cheaters, sweaters and blankets will be provided in ample quantities so that no one suffers from the cold.
* I have spoken to General Musharraf and also met the Pakistani High Commissioner. I expressed the sympathies of our nation to our neighbour in its moment of grief and offered all possible assistance to those affected. We are brothers and we share their sorrow. Our first plane load of relief material is on the way to Pakistan and we will provide any assistance sought by them.”