Pakistan for Establishing Early Warning System to Prevent Disasters

Press Release No. 06/2005

United Nations, New York, January 19: Pakistan has called for establishing regional mechanism on early warning to prevent possible disasters in the future.

Addressing the General Assembly session debating Tsunami disaster today, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Mr Masood Khalid emphasized that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Shaukat Aziz, in his capacity as Chairman of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had also called for evolving mechanism for an Asia-wide Early Warning and Disaster Response Regime.

Following is the text of Mr. Masood Khalid’s statement:-

"Mr. President,

The delegation of Pakistan associates itself with the previous speakers in expressing our deepest condolences and solidarity with the victims of Tsunami disaster in the affected countries. The people of Pakistan are shocked and saddened by this natural calamity and it is our earnest desire to contribute, in whatever manner possible, to restore normalcy in the calamity hit areas.

2. Being neighbours in the region, Pakistan was amongst the first to respond to the human sufferings followed by the catastrophic earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The Prime Minister of Pakistan His Excellency Mr. Shaukat Aziz approved an amount of Rs. 50 million for the Tsunami affected people. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs visited Sri Lanka and Indonesia to express our solidarity with these countries . 3. Pakistan has sent 12 relief sorties of C-130 to Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Pakistan Navy has sent three helicopters, an expeditionary force and medical teams and engineering support equipment to these countries . 4. Two Pakistan Naval ships, which were available in the Tsunami-hit region of Maldives participated in the relief and rescue operations for six days. Besides distributing relief goods through helicopters, 367 persons from 21 nationalities were also evacuated. 5. Apart from the above, the "President’s Relief Fund for Tsunami Victims" has been established on 31st December 2004. The newspapers and electronic media have been mobilized for the purpose. People from all walks of life are generously contributing to this Fund. Edhi Foundation, a major charitable organization of Pakistan has dispatched relief goods worth rupees 20 million to Sri Lanka. The Church World Service of Pakistan has also sent donations while private TV channels have run telethon broadcast for raising funds. 6. We are in favour of establishing regional mechanism on early warning to prevent such possible disasters in future. The Prime Minister, in his capacity as Chairman of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), has called for evolving a mechanism for an "Asia-wide Early Warning and disaster Response Regime". Mr. President, 7. Pakistan is gratified that the international community has responded promptly and generously to help the victims of this unprecedented disaster. We appreciate the United Nations’ efforts in coordinating and facilitating the global relief work. Pakistan will continue to support the international efforts which bring quick succor to the affected people and hasten the process of their reconstruction and rehabilitation in the countries hit by Tsunami.