Saudi Arabia builds houses, schools and hospitals in Pakistan as relief package

RIYADH — 1,900 housing units, 33 schools and 23 healthcare centers are being built in Pakistan by Saudi Arabia as a part of a relief package for earthquake and flood victims in the country.

More than 75,000 people killed, 128,000 wounded and displaced 3.5 million in October 2005, earthquake. Dr. Khaled Mohammed Al-Othmani, the regional director of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Campaign for the Relief of Pakistani People said the housing units will be built in Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan and the schools and health centers in Sind, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir.

Al-Othmani said. “We are also repairing 48 mosques damaged by the earthquake.” He disclosed plans to implement a number of drinking water projects, including sinking of artesian wells in various parts of Pakistan. “We intend to organize an integrated relief program by establishing hospitals, housing units, mosques, health centers, orphanages and drinking water facilities,” Al-Othmani said.

He said the campaign would reconstruct the areas damaged by the earthquake. “We’ll also provide emergency relief for the victims of the devastating floods that hit Pakistan six years ago,” he added.

He also said that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman wanted the Kingdom to play a significant role in providing relief to friendly countries hit by floods, earthquakes and wars. “Saudi Arabia will stand by the victims of natural calamities as part of its humanitarian mission. We want to deepen unity and solidarity among Muslim countries, by helping each other at times of crises and calamities,” he said.

Al-Othmani said about the emergency relief program, it involves providing food, clothing, shelter, drinking water, support for agriculture and animal farming and facilities for education and vocational training centers, as well as building and equipping medical centers and the construction and renovation of mosques. “Saudi Arabia will stand by Pakistan at times of difficulty,” the official said, highlighting the strong relations between the two countries.

The floods of July 2010 affected 25 million people in Pakistan and the Kingdom launched a nationwide fundraising campaign to support the victims. The country was hit by several devastating floods in subsequent years.

Al-Othmani said the Kingdom carried out educational, healthcare and water projects in various parts of Pakistan considering the dire need. “The earthquake had damaged public water networks and people were drinking contaminated water. This resulted in the spread of diseases. In order to change this situation the Kingdom reconstructed the water networks and dug wells in affected cities and villages,” he explained.