Rehabilitation plans for flood-affected areas
ISLAMABAD: With improving weather conditions in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the focus is gradually shifting to the rehabilitation of people which have suffered nearly three months of heavy rain, snowfall, avalanches, landslides and flooding.
“The relief operation is almost over now and the damage assessment and rehabilitation proposals have been forwarded to the federal government. We are awaiting the approval and allocation of funds for that,” said Ghulam Farooq Khan, provincial relief commissioner from Peshawar, on Monday.
Over 26,000 houses are reported to have been collapsed while more than 76,000 were partially damaged in the 24 districts of the NWFP. There has been severe devastation in districts of Mansehra, Buner, Shangla, Chitral, Swat, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Battagram, Nowshera, Peshawar, Charsadda, Hangu and Lakki Marwat, according to local reports.
The relief authorities announced compensation ranging from $67 to $117 depending on the damage. Cattle owners are being offered $8 to $16 in compensation. The authorities are also working on crop and orchard damage assessment.
At least 368 people were killed and scores were injured in house collapses, landslides and avalanches across the province in the severe conditions, according to local officials. The transport infrastructure has also been badly damaged.
“The entire road network has disrupted everywhere particularly in the hilly terrain of the northern districts and need reconstruction. For this, relevant highway authorities are working on damage assessment reports,” Farooq Khan said. A second spell of heavy downpours during March caused huge devastation on plains and along banks of River Swat and Kabul River in central districts of Charsadda, Nowshera and Peshawar.
“Overflowing rivers of Swat and Kabul have played havoc in many of the small riverside villages, where hundreds of people were forced to migrate to safer places after gushing water entered. At least 16 villages alone along River Swat have been reported to be heavily damaged and the overflowing water disrupted traffic flow and destroyed standing crops, and washed away livestock,” said Dr Quaid Saeed, coordinator of the UN interagency co-ordination committee in the NWFP.
“Continuous rains resulting in landslides are causing more structural damage at the moment, as the hilly areas are almost without any forest cover to put any resistance and keep the soil intact,” said Dr Saeed. Moreover, the district authorities have vacated several nearby villages as a precautionary measure. The current spell of the winter monsoon is over, said meteorologist Muhammad Saeed at the National Meteorological Office in Islamabad.
“There are a few spells of low intensity rains in the northern parts of the country over April but overall the intensive winter weather is over now,” said the meteorologist. irin