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Saudi Arabia building houses, schools and hospitals in Pakistan

Saudi Arabia is building 1,900 housing units, 33 schools and 23 healthcare centers in Pakistan as part of a relief package

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Saudi Arabia is building 1,900 housing units, 33 schools and 23 healthcare centers in Pakistan as part of a relief package for earthquake and flood victims in the country.

Dr. Khaled Mohammed Al-Othmani, regional director of the Saudi 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.

In October 2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake ripped through the region, killing an estimated 75,000, wounding 128,000 and displacing another 3.5 million.

“We are also repairing 48 mosques damaged by the earthquake,” Al-Othmani told Okaz/Saudi Gazette. 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.

Al-Othmani said Saudi 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.

Speaking about the emergency relief program, Al-Othmani said 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 Saudi Arabia launched a nationwide fundraising campaign to support the victims. The country was hit by several devastating floods in subsequent years.

Al-Othmani said the country 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, Saudi Arabia reconstructed the water networks and dug wells in affected cities and villages,” he explained.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on June 12, 2016.