ISLAMABAD Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the foreign aid will be distributed without discrimination among all the flood-affected people across the country. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani expressed these views while chairing the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting. He called for collective efforts to rehabilitate the flood-affected people by rising above political affiliations, and assured transparency and zero tolerance in collection and distribution of donations. The meeting after threadbare discussion on ensuring transparency in the aid distribution announced formation of 13-member National Disaster Oversight Council (NDOC) with representatives from all the four provinces, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The provinces were asked to give the names to be made part of NDOC so that it would be made functional. The decision about the chairmanship of the body would be decided later by Premier Gilani in consultation with all the stakeholders. The sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed that it was agreed upon in the meeting that the Federal Government contribution towards the rehabilitation work in flood devastated areas would be made once the damage assessment process would be completed. Sources further said that Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif had unexpectedly not taken extreme stand on the issue of aid disbursement and by and large agreed with the Prime Minister on most of the points. It was the consensus view of all the Chief Ministers that Government should expedite provision of aid to the flood affectees so that they could rebuild their houses at the earliest. Earlier addressing the CCI meeting, the PM said that more than 20 million people including 3.5 million children were affected by the devastative flooding across the country, besides losses worth billion of dollars. The Chief Ministers of Gilgit-Baltistan and four provinces, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir also participated in the meeting. The Prime Minister assessing the statistics held that more than 1000 bridges, 4,000 kilometres roads and standing crops of 1.3 million acres were washed away in the massive floods. He said that first priority was to evacuate the flood-hit people trapped in the areas and then rehabilitate them in the concerned areas. Pak Army, Navy and Air Force are working for the rescue and rehabilitation of the affected people, he added. He stated that 77 countries provided aid and assistance, which would be distributed without discrimination among the flood-hit people. He further said that some Rs 4 billion were collected in the Premiers fund while relief funds of Provincial Governments and NGOs were also collecting funds in this regard. World Bank, International Monitory Fund (IMF) and other donor agencies promised for their assistance for the affected people while United States, China and Saudi Arabia were also providing aid to Pakistan, he remarked. Gilani said the Government had received rough estimates of billions of dollars due to the damages caused to crops, private properties, government buildings, communications network, power infrastructure, food storage, livestock and poultry, health and education facilities. He said adverse effect on future economic growth would also offset the financial gains made by the Government in the last two years. We will have to reprioritise our economic goals and drastically cut down expenditures. I expect full cooperation from the Provincial Governments in this regard, Prime Minister Gilani said. He said the CCI was the most appropriate forum to handle these issues in an equitable manner, as it had the mandate to formulate and regulate policies in relation to matters concerning Provincial and the Federal Governments. He called for a strategy to deal with this national catastrophe with special emphasis on immediate relief measures, planned rehabilitation, a sustainable reconstruction plan and equitable utilisation of flood relief funds and items. He said it would be made in a transparent, fair and judicious manner through an institutional oversight mechanism which met international standards. We need to make a collective plan for our distressed brothers and sisters, without a consideration for political gains, party affiliation or regional preferences, the PM added. He said for him every flood-affected whether from Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Punjab was as dear as his own kith and kin. Our immediate task is to save the lives of the people stranded in the flood-affected areas, the Prime Minister said. He said rescue operations were successfully being carried out with the help of Army, Navy and the Air Force. Regarding the collection and distribution of funds, Prime Minister Gilani said, Let me categorically assure everyone that there shall be no discrimination in distribution of the available resources. He said every penny received and each item collected would be distributed to the provinces, by the Federal Government in a most transparent just and equitable manner. I have instructed the concerned agencies that there will be zero tolerance for misuse of authority, he added.