Expressing grief over the loss of lives and
rich forest resources in the aftermath of fire eruption at pine forests
Balochistan, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday directed the
National Disaster Management Authority to equip with modern firefighting
techniques and gadgets to suppress fire incidents efficiently in future.

Chairing a meeting attended by federal
ministers Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Maulana Abdul Wasay, Marriyum Aurangzeb, NDMA
chairman, Corps Commander Quetta, chief secretaries of Balochistan and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, the prime minister sought a future mechanism to overcome such
incidents and tasked the National Disaster Management Authority chairman to
submit a plan in the next two weeks after consultation with other relevant

He cited the examples of the USA and Australia for their adoption
of the latest fire suppression tactics, including spraying of wildfire
retardants through helicopters. He also directed the authorities concerned to
take immediate steps for compensation to the affected families. Besides, he
also assured the federal government’s full support to the provincial government
in providing financial assistance to the affected families. He also directed to
deploy monitoring teams in the affected area and keep close coordination with
other related authorities. However, he expressed satisfaction that all the
stakeholders, including the army, were making commendable efforts.

In addition, the PM also directed the relevant authorities to take
precautionary steps to protect the forests in Gilgit Baltistan. During the
meeting, Balochistan CM Abdul Quddus Bizenjo informed about the assistance
given to the heirs of the dead and injured.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated the
Pakistan Army and Frontier Constabulary Balochistan are providing maximum
assistance in relief as well as firefighting efforts. Headquarters 12 Corps is
coordinating closely with the PDMA. The fire continues to spread amid hot
weather and dry winds at the altitude of 10,000 feet, away from population
centers as the nearest village is located at the distance of 8-10 kilometers
from the location of the fire, stated the ISPR. It further stated that 10
families had been shifted to medical relief camp established in Manikhawa by FC
Balochistan. A FC Wing and two army helicopters along with local administration
and Levies have been employed in firefighting and relief efforts. “One
helicopter is being used to drop water and fire extinguishing chemicals on the
fire. As many as 400 fire extinguishing balls, 200 fire suits, blankets, tents,
mats and fire extinguishing equipment have been provided by NDMA through FC
Balochistan,” stated the ISPR, adding the army has also transported relief
equipment from Lahore to Zhob.


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