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     September 13,  2015



Winter season starts, Homeless flood effectees living in tents

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: With the fast approaching winter season, the flood affected people having their houses fully or partially damaged by the flash floods are finding themselves unprepared to withstand the harsh and chilly weather during which the temperature tends to freezing point.

The government has yet to take any decision to construct the 803 numbers of fully damaged and 683 partially damaged houses while the affected people are living in tents which are quite not suitable to reside in during the winter season which includes snow falling.

Akhtar Ali of Muzhgole village in Mulkhow said that more than seventy houses were fully swept away by the flood forcing its occupants to migrate to the plateau of Kagh Lusht where tent village has been established.

“The temperature plunges to lower degrees after sundown right now requiring lighting of fire for heating but it is not possible in the tents”, he said adding that many children contracted cold related illness and the situation aggravates with each passing day.

Mr. Ali said that having lost all their belongings to the flash flood, the villagers are not in a position to reconstruct their houses without the substantial financial help of the government but it was no where in sight.

He said that out of the hundred plus affected families of the village, not a single one is able to start the construction work of house by their own resources.

Sharif Ahmed of Reshun village had similar story where about two hundred houses have been damaged during the floods as a result of which the people are living in tents and are constrained to do so during the forthcoming winter season.

He regretted that the government is totally indifferent to their plight which will turn to a complex situation when the winter season starts during which the people get heat by burning woods and one cannot lit fire in a tent.

Regarding the estimated expenses on construction of a house of four rooms with walls made of muddy bricks and roof covered by aluminum sheets, Engineer Muhammad Naeem working with a private organization, put it at six lakh rupees.

He said that it will take at least two months for the completion of a house while the time is running out fast because the snowfall starts from the early days of the month of December every year after which construction work is stopped.

He said that although, a Karachi based NGO, has announced to provide aluminum sheets to the affected people for the construction of damaged houses, but very few can take advantage of this offer because every affected family can not afford to carry out the rest of the construction works.

When an official of district disaster management authority was contacted to know his version, he said that there was nothing for the reconstruction of houses either fully damaged or partially but the affected families are being compensated.

He said that the families having their houses fully damaged will be paid one lakh rupees and fifty thousand rupees for the partially damaged houses and the cheques have been received from the provincial government and are being handed over to them.



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