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Chitral’s flood victims still await govt assistance

Gul Hamaad Farooqi

CHITRAL: The devastating floods of July 22 have changed the map of Chitral. The intensity of the torrents was so high that the water flowed five feet above the river level which resulted in the loss of surrounding houses, shops, markets, workshops, standing crops, under cultivation land, orchards and fields.

Due to the floods, irrigation and drinking water pipelines and canals were washed away in many areas. The drinking water pipelines costing about Rs400 million were destroyed in Golen valley alone.
It is not known whether officials of the department concerned lack technical and professional skills or honesty and dedication with their job. Even when the pipeline in the valley was laid, public had demanded the Public Health Engineering Department to take necessary steps to protect the pipeline on a regular basis from floods, but nothing happened and a year later it was damaged by floods.
After that, it has been badly affected in every flood. Last year, the pipeline was mostly washed away by the river and people were deprived of drinking water for a year. This pipeline was restored by spending millions of rupees, but due to poor planning and wrong design, it was flooded again this year.
On the contrary, the Angarghon Shahshah water supply scheme, which was constructed by a Germany company 40 years ago, is still intact and provides water to the entire Chitral town.
Mastuj bridge in Upper Chitral damaged in floods of July 2023
PC: Shah Nawaz Ali

Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry visited Chitral immediately after the floods and announced imposition of an  emergency. He was probably misguided by the concerned department or the district administration that drinking water supply had been restored and people were getting water even though the flood victims had been suffering from lack of water for the last 10 days and the Golen pipeline was still blocked. 

The motor workshops at Denin consists of 120 shops. On July 22, the flooding river overflew its bank and destroyed the market. People saved their lives, but vehicles parked there were trapped in the rubble and debris of the flood and no one has even bothered to evacuate them.
Motor mechanic Ishaq and his father say that they have faced a loss of millions of rupees, but so far the victims have not received nothing from the administration. 
Asif Khan’s house is located above the Denin Gol drain. He said that he had  a disabled son. “We ran away at night and spent the night under the open sky.” He said his house was now under 10-foot-high debris. “We tried to clean it from the debris and could not do anything.”
He said his disabled son’s medicines were also buried under the debris of the flood and now he cannot buy medicines for him.
Kamaluddin is a businessman and social worker. He says the shopkeepers and motor mechanics have been affected by floods. They are now busy in removing the flood debris from their shops.
He said the main reason for the flood was that the contractor of the National Highway Authority, which was widening Chitral-Shandur road, dropped the whole debris and heavy boulders into the river. As a result, the surface of the rive raised and caused  the tremendous floods.
“We have submitted applications to 21 departments against of the contractor and have just made a written application to the SHO police station Chitral to file a FIR, but it seems that he is very influential as no action is being taken against him.”
Floods have damaged several houses, shops and lands in Koghuzai, Kari, Orghuch, Ochosht, Gahkat, Denin, Chitral town, and other areas. At this time, people have sown the maize crop and the stream and channels that are irrigating them have been washed away into the flood. 
Naeem Anjum, president of Tehreek-e-Tahafuzi Chitrali and his colleagues going to affected areas and helping the victims and helping them to remove the debris from their homes. He also expressed his disappointment over the government’s apathy that no one has yet been given by the administration in the Orghuch and other affected areas and there has been any help with them.
Ghulam Yusuf, who is affected by the ochhost drain, who lives in Shiaqao Tech, his house has completely. He added that he was forced to stay in the house of a relative, including his family, but how long would he be a burden on others? He said that he had not yet received any help. He also demanded that he must be financed immediately so that he could rebuild his damaged house.
Ijaz Ahmad Khan is a councilor of Village Council Koghuzi . He says that when the floods came here two years ago, the Pakistan Tehreek -e -Insaf (PTI) responsible people and Special Assistant to CM on Minority affairs of KP Wazir Zada Kalash visited with his team to protect the area. He announced for providing of fund of Rs 2 Million its tender was also awarded and work order was issued but the practical work has not yet started and it was only a verbal promise and political statement.
Because of his false promises and announcements, we never approached another government or non -governmental organization and the PTI Govt did not provide funds and not started practically work, as a result we are also suffering . If we knew that these people were lying, we would ask for help from another institution or NGO. He added that many years ago a rocky stone was coming in this drain, which causes water every year to stop water. The affected people also complain that the government has imposed an emergency in both districts of Chitral but we are removing debris from our own destroyed houses on slef help basis and we have not been given any missionary, etc. The victims have demanded from government agencies to immediately assist them financially so that they can rebuild their destroyed houses and provide their children to a place of shelter , as well as irrigation and drinking water pipes and channels should also be restored so that water supply to them can be ensured.
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