Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said his country was ready to provide “any humanitarian assistance that may be needed” after floods in Kerala killed hundreds of people this month.
“On behalf of the people of Pakistan, we send our prayers and best wishes to those who have been devastated by the floods in Kerala, India,” Khan wrote on Twitter.
Khan took oath as prime minister of Pakistan last week.
UAE says financial aid offer not official yet
Khan’s statement came a day after India controversially rejected offers made by foreign countries to send financial aid for flood relief work in Kerala, citing “existing policy”. The United Arab Emirates had reportedly offered Rs 700 crore as aid for relief work.
After the Centre rejected the offer, Ahmed Al Banna, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to India, told The Indian Express that his country had not yet officially announced any specific amount as financial aid. “The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing,” he was quoted as saying. “Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don’t think it is final, since it is still ongoing.”
At least 223 people have lost their lives due to the rain, floods and landslides in the southern state since August 8 and more than 360 people have died since May 29. Flood waters have now receded and rehabilitation work is under way.
Centre clarifies on relief package for Kerala
Meanwhile, the Centre clarified on Thursday that the Rs 600-crore relief package released for Kerala was only “advance assistance” and additional funds will be released when an inter-ministerial team visits the state again to assess the damage.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the central government had provided Kerala urgent aid and relief material “in a timely manner and without any reservation”.
The Rs 600-crore fund is “in addition to Rs 562.45 crore already made available [by the Centre] in SDRF [State Disaster Response Fund],” the ministry said in a statement. “In addition to the financial support, the Centre has made available large quantities of emergency food, water, medicines and other essential supplies, including additional allocation of food grains, as requested by the state. In supplying these materials, normal rules and procedure have been set aside in view of emergency nature of the requirement in Kerala.”
The central government issued the statement after it faced criticism for rejecting aid from foreign governments.