Pakistani president: Floods affect 1 mln hectare cultivated land

08:32, August 27, 2010      

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Flood refugees go through waterlogged road near Muzaffargarh, south Pakistan's Punjab Province, Aug. 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said the devastated floods have affected 2.6 million acres (about 1 million hectares) of cultivated land with a crop loss of some 2.35 billion U.S. dollars.

Addressing a meeting of the banking sector, Zardari said the country has to face great human and infrastructure losses due to the current unprecedented floods and around 75 districts have been affected with a population of 15 million.

He said a scheme should be devised to provide relief to the existing borrowers of devastated areas and at the same time make provision for fresh financing for the revival of economic activities.

The agriculture and housing were the most seriously impacted areas and the banks were saddled with the social responsibility of pressing into service their professional skills for addressing the issues in these two sectors, the president said.

He said that the government will provide free seed to farmers to grow canola early next month in the flood-affected areas and also distribute the first installment of 5000 rupees (about 59 dollars) of the relief assistance per family before the Eid festival.

These are also the areas in which the banks can play a positive and constructive role for speedy implementation, he said.

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