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Funds for flood-hit areas misused, probe urged

bridgeA number of residents from the flood-hit villages said the infrastructure collapsed when flash floods in Bindugole, Gohkir in upper Chitral struck three villages including Doqandah, Bindu Shitragh and Shogram on July 2 to 4 July. A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded Pakistan GIOF Project was launched in the area two and half years ago for protecting and saving lives, properties and lands of the flood-affected people of Bindugole. They said the so-called Disaster Risk Management Committee (DRMC) was constituted to run the activities of the project effectively, but the flood-affected people of Bindugole were totally neglected. The members of the committee, they deplored, used this money for rehabilitating playgrounds, building an Eidgah, model schools and recreational facilities instead of spending the money in the affected area. They said project had set aside a large amount of money to construct protection walls on both sides of Bindugole. However, the project manager and DRMC members neglected the most vulnerable village Shalalboomi Doqandah. “The protection walls have been swept away by the floods,” said one of the affectees. The project had allotted funds to construct shelters for the flood-affected people of Bindugole but instead the members of DRMC wasted the huge amount on building playgrounds, an Eidgah, model school and playgrounds. According to the statement of the project manager, Hamid Ahmad Mir, these shelters were well-equipped with the basic facilities of life including tents, beds, mobile toilets, generators and utensils for the flood affected people of Bindugole. The affected people said the displaced people asked for these things when the flood struck the area but to no avail. The affectees were not accommodated in the shelters and the displaced people were forced to take shelter with neighbours in the local mosque and madrassa. They pointed out that there are five watch groups to inform the endangered villages at the time of flood but no one responded when the calamity struck. The affected people called for dissolution of the DRMC and its replacement by a new body comprising of the affected people of Bindugole and the project staff. When contacted, an official of the project said, “Sorry, I am not responsible for giving comments on my day off. Therefore, you should visit our office on working day for the purpose.”–Published in The News]]>

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