Chitral’s reconstruction needs over Rs1 bn

The reconstruction of roads and bridges will require Rs1.106 billion of which Rs635.2 million will be needed for reconstruction of damaged roads and Rs470.85 million will have to be spent on rebuilding of the destroyed bridges, a report says.

Besides, compensation for the damaged houses would cost Rs122.460 million, rebuilding of irrigation channels across the district will need Rs63 million and rehabilitation of water supply schemes will require Rs103.109 million. The 107 pages report says that floods wreaked havoc in different areas of Chitral from July 15 till August 2. It says that district witnessed low to very high level flooding in at least 48 streams.

The report says that nood was first reported in Broze village stream on July 15 and then an unusual and unprecedented torrential rain and series of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) hit the district. `The rain was followed by thunderstorm and cloud outburst while the intensity of the thunderstorm triggered the occurrence of GLOF events, which destroyed the infrastructure,` it says.

According to the report, the floods affected about 307,000 people as roads linking Kalash valleys, Lotkuh tehsil and Upper Chitral with rest of the district were washed away. The residents of the area remained stranded for three weeks. The floods killed 36 people across Chitral and an amount of Rs12 million was paid to their legal heirs as compensation. A totalof803housesweredestroyed completely and 683 others were damaged partially.

The floods also damaged about 28 state-run schools, 11 microhydel power stations, seven mosques, two Jamat Khana, 37 watermills, 56 shops, 13 vehicles and three private educational institutions. Besides, 1,455 trees including 2,832 fruit bearing and 8,623 non-fruit bearing trees were also washed away by the raging torrents. The report also looks into reasons that caused these unprecedented floods and notes that only 4.7 per cent area is covered with forests in southern parts of the district. It urges the government to reassert its control in face of merciless chopping of trees.

It says that free grazing without rules and regulations was another major problem and suggests regulations and rotational grazing through community involvement to overcome the problem. The report notes that GLOFs emerged as the most significant climate change related events with specific reference to Chitral and aggravating mountain hazards. The analysis of past disaster trends reveals an upward trend for GLOF events during the past two decades, it says.

The report notes that controlling and managing of the Chitral River, which snakes across the district for 260 kilometres after originating in Broghil valley close to the Pamir, was a big question mark. It says that the river has eaten away large tracts of lands along its banks at 18 places spreading over several kilometres across the district, which it terms as `danger zones. It says that the district government would ask provincial and federal government and NGOs to help reclaim this land.

The unplanned buildings in riverbeds and catchment areas were more vulnerable and sustained major damages. It says that encroachments would be removed following completion of assessment by irrigation department. The report also suggests detailed study of flooding in Broze stream and Rumboor valley to ascertain the exact nature of floods and possible triggers behind it.

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