The flood of 'Noah' ripped through Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province of Pakistan in the North-West of the country killing atleast 1500 people, effecting 3 million people, breaking all bridges and hotels alongside Swat river and bridges in Charsadda, destroying the city of Nowshera and destroying thousand other vilages in Pukhtoonkhwa making thousands of people homeless and trapped by floods causing food shortage, transport breakage, communication shut down, energy crisis and effecting educational institutes of the region. (Media Cell: PSF UOM)
The International Red Cross has said up to two-and-a-half million people have been affected by devastating floods in north-west Pakistan.
Water levels are dropping in some areas, but more monsoon rains are forecast in the coming days.
Speaking from Pakistan, acting head of the World Health Organisation Dr Ahmed Farah Shadoul told the BBC that snakes had been attacking flood victims. (BBC)
With the subsiding of floodwaters in various affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday, the concerned authorities have shifted their focus of attention to relief activities from rescue operations in the province.
Relief camps have been established in almost the entire flood affected areas of the province, wherein efforts are underway to address the challenges of hunger, health and shelter. Relief camps for the flood affectees have been established in the Government-run schools, wherein the head of every school would supervise the overall management of the relief camps. More than 400 relief camps have started the relief activities in the calamity-hit areas including district Swat, Dir, Malakand, Nowshera, Mardan, Peshawar and Charsadda.
Despite the ‘lucid’ announcement of the provincial Government that it would take time to ameliorate the conditions of the masses in the traumatic conditions of floods, people are increasingly becoming impatient telling every media outlet that their problems are not being addressed adequately. The affected people held protests in Dasu besides blocking the main GT Road at Nowshera. They were demanding of the concerned authorities to help them in the hour of need.
In the meantime, the people from Zahi Bala, Malak Ziarat Khan Korona have also migrated to Peshawar and Nowshera to take shelter in Kandhar Relief Camp.
However, the rescue operation in Dera Ismail Khan is yet to be rounded up as the villages in Paharipura and Dera-Bakkar road have been badly affected by the floodwaters threatening the lives of the people in the area while hundreds of people are still stranded in the area. (Rauf Khattak Published: August 03, 2010, The Nation)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Monday said that the government would provide food during the holy month of Ramazan to victims of torrential rains and floods all over the province, besides increasing compensation amount for the deceased from Rs100,000 to Rs300,000.
“The losses to human lives, infrastructure and properties are on very large scale and still a number of people are in distress, but the overall situation is improving as the Pakistan Army and district administration’s relief and rescue teams are busy in providing relief to the affectees,” he said briefing media on the current situation.
The government would also pay compensation to those whose homes had been destroyed and the amount would be decided once the assessment process was completed, he stated.
The minister said the chief minister and his team visited Nowshera and Charsadda on Monday to review relief activities and meet the affected people. “The chief minister will pay visits to all districts to meet the affectees and review relief activities. Though people are angry and the government knew about their miseries and anger, the chief minister’s assurance satisfied them to a great extent,” he said.
Mian Iftikhar said that food and relief items were being provided to the affectees in and outside camps as only 6,000 people had been accommodated in Nowshera Technical College camp where food for 13,000 people was provided. Tents, plastic mats, cocked food, medicines and other relief items were also supplied, he said.
Giving details of losses, the minister said that 774 deaths had been confirmed, besides 129 who were missing and injuries to 358 persons. He, however, felt the unofficial and real death toll could be double of the official figure. More than 500,000 people have been displaced in Nowshera alone and the lowest figure is in Kohat district, he said, adding that 15,815 homes had been completely destroyed and 761 partially damaged. He said dozens of villages had been washed away along with inmates.
The number of bridges destroyed was 67 while 173 roads were washed away in the province and 42 educational institutions and 243 water supply schemes were destroyed, the minister said. The Malakand division and Nowshera and Charsadda districts were the most affected where standing crops on 70 per cent lands were destroyed, he added.
Mian Iftikhar said that due to destruction of roads and bridges on link roads, the government was planning to ensure food supply through mules and donkeys as famine-like situation could arise in some districts of Malakand division. He said that 400 tourists out of total 2,600 had been airlifted from Kalam and the rest would soon be evacuated. He said they were, however, safe and staying in hotels in Kalam where food and other necessary items are provided to them.
The minister said the United Nations and United States had announced $10 million each for the flood affectees. He said the US government has sent 62,000 food packets, besides two water filtration plants while relief items from Dubai are arriving soon. The UNHCR has provided tents and other items for the affectees, he added.
Mian Iftikhar said that Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had talked to the chief minister and assured of sending one platoon of troops to Nowshera where army itself was also affected by the flood. About demand for special grant from the federal government, he said since losses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amounted to billions of dollars, the federal government should grant as much money as possible.
The minister appealed to the world community and philanthropists not to wait for the damage assessment and help the affectees in this hour of need. He also asked media to play role in diverting world attention to the devastation caused by floods in the province. He said the flood losses in Nowshera, Peshawar and Charsadda proved that a little rise in water level in Kabul and Indus rivers could threaten these districts. “Those who were talking of Kalabagh Dam and terming it a political issue should now come to see how much the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa people were right in their stand against the proposed reservoir,” he said.
Though Kalabagh Dam issue is now dead, those still talking about it should know that any project dangerous for the province would never be allowed, he maintained.
Mian Iftikhar warned of strict action against the government employees found lenient in relief activities and said all employees from Class IV to Grade 22 were on duty and should not sit in offices but go to the field to take part in relief and rescue work. To a question, he said the people should be careful as the Met Office forecast more rains during the next two days. He said they should, however, be careful of miscreants who circulate rumours for creating panic so that they could indulge in loot and plunder. (The News)
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