Arshed Suad Khosa,
Pakistan's Ambassador to Nepal
Ladies & Gentlemen,
-Let me at the outset, thank you all for your presence here, at our Embassy for a short interaction.
-I am sure you are all very busy with covering stories in different parts of your country which has suffered a lot, in human and as well as in material terms, as a consequence of the deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25.
-With your engagements in view, we intend to take a very short time from your busy schedules.
-All of us in Pakistan, as well as here in the Embassy, have been deeply moved by the massive tragedy that hit Nepal a few days back. We have time and again expressed our regret, sympathies and solidarity with the people of Nepal.
-While we are aware of the magnitude of the loss, we remain conscious of the fact that the Nepali people are brave, resilient and strong enough to face the affects of the natural calamity and move ahead in life. We are sure that you would overcome the disaster with courage and determination.
-"Every calamity," it has been said, "is to be overcome by endurance." With patience and fortitude Nepal will pass through this test.
-In these difficult and sorrowful times, the Government and people of Pakistan firmly stand by Nepal and share the painful moments through which your country is currently passing through. Nepal, we are all confident, will not yield to the calamity, but instead face her boldly.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
-We feel that it is obligatory on our part as friends and neighbors to fulfill our responsibilities in these difficult and painful times in Nepal. It is with this in view that Pakistan has come forward with its relief assistance program for Nepal.
-Our Prime Minister, who was on an official visit to the United Kingdom on April 25, not only immediately expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives with a condolence message, but also spoke to his Nepali counterpart Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and offered all out assistance to Nepal for the earthquake-affected people.
-Having experienced the 2005 earthquake's devastation in Pakistan, we know what it means, to those in sorrow and grief, to find friends and assistance in such tragic times. The Prime Minister therefore immediately directed all concerned in Pakistan to make urgent arrangements for the dispatch of relief assistance to our brotherly country Nepal.
-On the other hand, our Mission in Kathmandu had also immediately, in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, approached Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Military Headquarters with our heartfelt condolences at the extensive loss of lives and the destruction caused by the quake. We also proposed the provision of Pakistan's urgent relief and medical assistance to Nepal.
Ladies & Gentlemen (Pakistan's Assistance)
-Within hours of our Prime Minister's instructions, the quarters concerned in our country were ready to dispatch required assistance. Ours was one of the first countries to bring assistance to Kathmandu.
-Pakistan has carried out its relief assistance to Nepal in different phases. So far we have undertaken four phases of our relief assistance program.
-In the first phase Pakistan supplied medical aid and relief supplies. Two C-130 aircrafts reached Kathmandu on April 26 with relief items that included medicines, blankets, tents, rice, lentils, a state-of-the-art search and rescue equipment that included rubble penetrating radars and sniffing dogs.
-On the same flight we had flown in two teams: (i) a 49-member team of doctors, which included surgeons, lady doctors and their staff and (ii) another team of 35 members i.e the search and rescue team.
-Within hours of their arrival at Bhakthapur, both the teams got busy with their respective work. While the recue team got involved in search and rescue efforts, our medical team established a 30-bed field hospital and started treating the injured men, women and children immediately. This hospital, which is still functioning at Bhaktapur, is equipped to handle all emergencies. Over the past few days a number of successful operations have been performed by the team of surgeons of the Pakistan Army at this field hospital.
-Pakistan's second and third phases of relief assistance commenced on April 28 and May 02 respectively. During the two phases, four aircrafts arrived at the airport in Kathmandu with assistance. The four - plane load of relief assistance essentially included the same items that had been brought over to Nepal in the first phase.
-However, in the third phase we also brought with us a number of Nepali doctors, studying in medical colleges in Pakistan, who had volunteered to travel to their home country to assist their compatriots. We had welcomed their offer and had made arrangements for their flight to Kathmandu. We hope that the Nepali doctors, brought over from Pakistan, are serving their countrymen.
-Upon the request of the Nepalese Government, Pakistan only dispatched tentage in the fourth phase of its relief assistance. On May 5, two of our C-130 aircrafts arrived early in the morning and brought in 700 tents for the earthquake affected people.
-Earlier, on Nepal Government's request, the Prime Minister of Pakistan accorded immediate approval to the provision of 20,000 tents and 20 tons of rice for Nepal.
-Let me also inform you that the Prime Minister of Pakistan also announced the establishment of an exclusive Relief Fund for Nepal, with Pakistan nationals, at home and abroad, being mobilized to contribute generously to the Fund.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Let me just briefly give you a rundown of our assistance to our brotherly country Nepal:
· 10,000 Kgs of Medicines
· 1556 Tents/Shelters
· 1000 Blankets
· 2000 Kgs Rice & Daal
· 3540 Meals-Ready-to-Eat
· 2840 Kgs of Dry Rations
· State-of-the-art Search and Rescue Equipment
· 04 Sniffing Dogs
Doctors, Medical Staff and Rescuers
· 13 Specialist Doctors and 36 Medical Staff
· 35 Search & Rescue Team Members
· Fully-equipped 30-Bed Field Hospital at Bakhtapur
· Approximately 1684 patients have been treated.
· 23 major/minor operations have been performed at the field hospital.
· Deliveries of 02 babies have been handled at the field hospital.
· 02 dead bodies of women trapped under a five storey building were retrieved by the Search & Rescue Team after 36 hours of a rescue operation.
(Full text of the speech given by Ambassador Khosa at press conference organized in Pakistan Embassy to Nepal, Kathmandu.)