Academic institutions urged to work for flood victims

Islamabad : The Higher Education Commission (HEC) held a meeting of the heads of private sector universities to seek suggestions and for providing immediate, short-term and long-term support to the flood victims.

“Being a beacon for the society, the universities have a great role to play in presenting viable solutions to the problem of floods and other natural challenges being triggered in Pakistan by climate change,” emphasised Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed while addressing the session.

Over 90 Vice Chancellors, Rectors and senior officials of private sector universities attended the meeting and shared their experiences and views on how they are responding to the prevailing catastrophic situation to help the flood-affected people, by supplying edibles and necessary items, providing medical aid, and extending voluntary services of students and staff.

Highlighting their respective contributions for the flood-hit areas, they said that the Association of Private Sector Universities (APSU) of Pakistan and the Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institution have jointly launched the Mission ESSAR Flood Relief Fund 2022 in collaboration with the Superior Foundation for Research & Development (SFRD) to reach out to academic institutions, industry and general public to come forward for providing relief to the flood-stricken areas.

They said that the private universities are individually and collectively involved in relief efforts, while APSU has been providing food, medicines, drinking water, tents, and packets for women needs, etc. The heads of private universities vowed to stand by the nation in this hour of need and cooperate with the public sector universities in line with the HEC National Floods 2022 response.

A number of private universities pledged to offer scholarships and stressed the need to conduct research and develop a long-term strategy for rainwater harvesting, prevention of floods, and against deforestation. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed appreciated the efforts of private sector institutions for their efforts in the time of need.

He underlined that the higher education sector needs to collectively respond to the calamity and help the flood victims across Pakistan without any discrimination.

He pointed out that the challenge of floods and the resultant damages needs immediate, short-term and long-term solutions. He explained that the people of affected areas need food, water, shelter and clothing to be provided immediately. He urged the medical universities to manage for psychological counselling of people suffering post-flood traumas.

He also stressed the need for a long-term strategy to combat the issue and prevent, as much as possible, any damages in future by taking effective measures. He warned of multiple challenges like food security in the aftermath of calamities due to climate change.

Earlier, Executive Director, HEC Dr. Shaista Sohail and Advisor (Coordination) HEC Awais Ahmed shed light on the decisions taken in the meeting of public sector universities heads held on August 29.