Since last few decades, Pakistan has been stuck by many catastrophic natural calamities including earthquake in 2005 which resulted in heavy economic and human losses. Similarly; 2010 floods swept away not only the infrastructure but thousands of lives with itself. The latest in the series of natural disasters that shocked every Pakistani was the Murree snowstorm incident and the recent whopping floods that submerged half of the country.
In all of these events of utter misfortune, Pakistan Armed forces always remained at the forefront to help its civilian population. Pakistan Army is considered to be one of the best armies in the world. Global Firepower Index ranked Pakistan defense forces as the “9th most powerful military” in the world. So, there is no doubt about the professionalism and capabilities of Pakistan Army. It has remained the most well managed, disciplined and responsive institution of the country in terms of its disaster management policies, relief & rehabilitation operations and humanitarian response.
The commendable efforts of Pakistan Army in the case of Murree snowstorm and in Covid-19 pandemic are among many for the sustenance and development of Pakistan. Heavy machinery and men power were used to save the lives of people stuck in Murree. On the other hand, during severe wave of Covid, soldiers on the roads and streets made sure that people were following standard operating procedures, including social distancing and masking. Pakistan Army has played a remarkable role in providing health facilities to citizens. Throughout the year, Army doctors organized camps for civilians and provide free treatment in many areas. Today, more than forty state of the art Army hospitals are functional throughout the country with the best possible facilities available.
The recent flash floods caused by abnormal monsoon rain and cloudbursts have wreaked havoc in many districts of Balochistan, KP, South Punjab and Sindh. In these pernicious times for the entire nation, Pakistan army has played an unprecedented role to rescue the people caught-up in the flood affected areas. It has probably the only fully functional and organized institution to extend their services beyond security issues and help Pakistan overcome the disastrous consequences of natural calamities.
Pakistan army launched a massive rescue and relief operations throughout Pakistan and saved thousands of lives. As part of its national responsibility, the Pakistan Army has established a National Army flood Relief and Rescue coordination center under Headquarters Army Air Defense Command to manage relief and rescue operations. In the month of August 2022, a Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali (Corps Commander Quetta)along with his fellow officials sacrificed their lives in-line of their rescue mission during floods in Lasbela, Balochistan.
In addition, under the supervision of Relief, Rescue and Rehabilitation organization, Pakistan Army is in close coordination with Disaster Management authority to provide assistance to the flood affected people through multiple means. During the current floods, so far, almost 50,000 people have been rescued and shifted to safe places and more than 147 relief camps have been established by the Army. Effected People have been provided with medical assistance in around 250 temporary medical centers. The armed forces have also managed to distribute more than 3,700 tents and other necessary items among the victims.
Not only the forces extended their help in rescue operations but also provided approximately 1793 tons of food packages including ready to eat meal to the effected people. In this spirit, all the general officers of the army aka heroes in uniform have also donated their one-month salary to help the victims. Moreover, the officers also giving donations on voluntary basis to help civilian in their difficult times. In view of the emergency situation, the Pakistan Army has also established donation centers in all major cities for the collection of funds and goods under the instructions of the federal Government. To ensure the equal distribution of medical and food assistance, army officers including army doctors and nurses are tirelessly working in relief camps.
Apart from Pak Army, Air and Naval forces have also contributed its fair share to rescue people from the devastating climate catastrophe. Forty-one Relief camps have been established by PAF working across the country to help people. Besides, 1521 lives have been saved through aerial operations using military helicopter. Meanwhile diving teams are dispatched to the heavily flooded areas to rescue the stuck people.
In these challenging times of climate crisis faced by Pakistan, our forces have proved to be a symbol of resilience, credibility and strength. They have always put their lives in danger and selflessly provided immediate help to ensure the safety and security of the people of Pakistan. In short, utilizing all of their limited resources the military has left no stone unturned to help the fellow citizens. According to the data of Meteorological Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has received 44% more rains this year. Four tehsils of Swat district, Bahrain, KhawzaKhela, Matta and Mingora were directly affected by the flood.
The employment of the local population of Upper Swat depended on tourism or agriculture. The recent floods have also taken away these sources of income from them.
The area has witnessed daunting situation when a good number of tourist and locals were stranded, the local administration totally failed to rescue them. In such dire situation, Pakistan Army remained the only hope for the stranded people in the area.
Four special army aviation helicopters during that period had rescued 110 stranded people from Khawazakhela to Kanju Cantt in Swat.
Dr. Fauzia who’s seven family members including women and children stranded in Swat told the Voice of KP, “My family was stuck in Swat floods during their tour, we were very worried as the local administration was unable to rescue them. But thanks to Pakistan Army all were rescued and evacuated in time.”
In order to help the flood victims, 7,522 Pakistan Army troops were deployed along with 50 boats, whereas 25 field medical camps were also established. As many as 25,000 patients were treated from different areas.
The military leadership under Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa showed concerns over these devastating floods when no one was even aware about the magnitude of this calamity. Pakistan Army had initiated rescue operations in Balochistan while the news about floods were nowhere on national media.
The Army chief visited the flooded areas ofSwat where he personally met the children, women, elderly and other people who were rescued from Kamrat, Kalam by helicopters of Army Aviation.
The rescued citizens specially women thanked the Pakistan Army while speaking to the Army chief and said, “It was the army who had reached out to the stranded families when none was in sight for help.”
The Army Chief personally supervised the relief operations of Pakistan Army at various places including Swat and Kalam.
The Pakistan Army Engineers restored Bahrain Bridge in Swat and opened it for all kinds of traffic on September 4. The flood-hit bridge in the town of Bahrain in Swat was reopened for traffic after the Pakistan Army worked day and night to restore it.
Earlier during his visit to the flood-hit areas in Swat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had said the road would be restored in six or seven days.
The people of Bahrain are happy that Pakistan Army engineers have restored that bridge which is one of the main passages frequented by people to commute, said Munir Khan who is a government teacher.
He said that people of Swat has great respect for Pakistan Army earlier for restoring peace and now their selfless relief work for flood victims.
In these challenging times of climate crisis faced by Pakistan, our forces have proved to be a symbol of resilience, credibility and strength. They have always put their lives in danger and selflessly provided immediate help to ensure the safety and security of the people of Pakistan. In short, utilizing all of their limited resources the military has left no stone unturned to help the fellow citizens.