Massive rescue, relief operation continues in flood-hit Chitral

CHITRAL: - A view of destruction caused by flash flood in Chitral.

NDMA report: Floods claim 50 lives, destroy 773 houses across Pakistan

CHITRAL, Jul  26: Massive rescue and relief efforts are underway for the people marooned in raging waves of flash-flood that has hit a big swath of the area here for last ten days, killing 31 people, washing away their homes as no immediate break is in sight from the torrential rains.

Military helicopters are hovering over the flood-ravaged villages to pluck the affected people and drop food to them as local authorities are engaged in setting up make-shift shelters and food huts to provide them basic provisions of life. They are under instructions from Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who himself visited the flood-affected area last week, and instructed to make every effort to provide relief to the victims. C-130 aircraft have been flown to the area to take food on emergency basis.

According to reports, the rains and flood washed away more than 300 houses, 25 mosques, bridges, educational institutions, communication equipment and crops. Majgool, Wari Joon, Sehat, Gehat and Kasham are among the hard-hit villages.

Kalash Valley and Ganche are still disconnected from rest of the country. However, the repair work on damaged  link roads has been started on war footing basis.

Commandant Chitral Scouts Col Naeem Iqbal, who is also in-charge Task Force, said that the jawans of his force were working shoulder to shoulder with the Army personnel. So far 300 tents had been distributed among those whose houses have damaged, he added.

As many as nine hydel power houses have also been damaged while the Otol village has been completely washed away by floods. However, the locals have started reconstruction of the plants in some areas.

At least 10 Mobile Utility Store outlets have been established for the affected people while the permanent Utility Stores will be opened within two weeks.

“All necessary grocery items will be made available in the mobile stores for the facilitation of flood affectees,” Managing Director of Utility Stores Corporation Sultan Mehmood told APP.

Meanwhile, 16 tons foodstuff from the Utility Stores in Gilgit have been transported to Mastong and Bhoni while more supply is in pipeline, said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the area soon after Eid to personally see the devastation wreaked by the flash floods and instructed the authorities concerned to take the affected people to safer places, provide them food and treat the injured.

The Prime Minister has already announced Rs 500 million for the rehabilitation of infrastructure. He had also announced writing off all agriculture loans of affected areas and compensation of half million rupees for the each destroyed house.

He has further directed the National Health Emergency Preparedness Network (NHEPRN) to augment its medical response capacities in the affected areas as five more deaths were reported from the district taking the death toll to 31.

The NDMA has already distributed 15 tons dry ration, one ton mineral water bottles and one million Aqua Tabs (Water Purification Tablets) in the flood-hit Chitral.

Two C130 aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) are taking part in the operation, which besides airlifting the relief items to the area, have also evacuated 80 persons.

The ration includes flour, rice, pulses, oil, milk, tea and sugar and mineral water.

The NDMA has also made arrangements to keep communication links operative in the disaster hit areas for ensuring smooth rescue and relief activities.

A bridge on Dir-Chitral Road (N- 45) has been kept open from the day one with the assistance of the National Highway Authority.

Under directive of the Prime Minister and in coordination with the Army, services of Frontier Works Organization have been offered to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government for speedy repair of the road infrastructure.

The Prime Minister has also instructed for up- gradation of Chakdara-Chitral Motorway with at a cost of Rs 27 billion, besides announcing completion of Loari Tunnel by end of 2016.

On the special instructions of Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, a Crisis Control Cell has been established at Air Headquarters Islamabad to centrally monitor the rescue activities being carried out by the PAF.

According to Inter Services Public Relations flood relief and rescue operations by Army troops continue in affected areas of Chitral and Gilgit- Baltistan.

They have distributed 17.5 tons of ration so far and 164 affected people were rescued by two MI-17 helicopters of army from Rambur, Kurggh, Birri, Bumboret and Chashma to safer places.

Work on road Chitral – Bubmoret is in progress whereas the Buni – Masting road is being repaired.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, as many as 70 more houses were demolished in the flood-hit areas in Chitral on Sunday.

Participating in the large-scale relief operation, the Cabinet Division has set up an emergency cell to mitigate sufferings of the calamity stricken people.

The division is making utmost efforts to accomplish its mandated task of swift disaster relief,

For the facilitation of all federal, provincial stakeholders and prompt transmission of information,  telephone and fax numbers are available in thecell.

Following are the names and phone numbers, Director General (ERC) Dr Anjum Khan, 051-9207169, 0333-5558880, CO 6 aviation (Sqn) Lt Col. Ateeq-u-Rehman 051-9209258, Section officer (Plan) 051-9103471, 0331-8549711, Section officer R and S Amna Shuja 0519103506,0332-4399352.

People can also contact the control room at 051-9051413, 051-9202528, fax number 051-91034712 and 051-9103556.




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