July 25, 2011: Lethargy on part of federal government to
mobilise international donors and last minute spanner by
World Bank to seek third party validation of official data
has added to miseries of hundreds of thousands people
affected by the worst floods in the country’s history last
year, according to sources.
“Moreover, the government has backed out of its commitment
to pay Rs80,000 to every affected family for reconstruction
of house. It has now slashed the amount by half, meaning
that each household will now get Rs40,000,” they added.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had earlier announced
Rs80,000 compensation for each family affected by the
disaster. However, after lapse of one year the last
installment has still not been paid because of delay in
compilation and validation of data of affected population
and pooling funds. The affected people have received
Rs20,000 through Watan Card scheme so far.
Officials said that federal government and donors agencies
including World Bank, United States Agency for International
Development and Department for International Development had
pledged to contribute $580 million to the funds set up for
the flood affected people. The World Bank has pledged $125
million soft loan.
The bank, an official said, had now linked release of the
loan with third party validation in flood affected areas. He
said that the bank finished third party assessment in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa but it had yet to release the report formally.
He said that sample survey by the bank had not been
initiated in Sindh and Punjab, causing delay in payment of
The catastrophic floods had played havoc across the country
in July 2010, killing over 1,600 people and rendered
millions of people homeless. Only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,
about 300,000 families were affected by the disaster that
swallowed huge infrastructure.
To stand eligible for the cash assistance, millions of
affected people have to face problems due to extensive
paperwork and red-tape. The poor people, who have lost their
abodes and properties in the floods, desperately need cash
to rebuild their houses.
Syed Badshah, a resident of Banda Sheikh Ismailkhel, a
hamlet near the bank of the Kabul River in Nowshera
district, has been living with relatives along with seven
children since floods washed away his mud house. “If
government gives money then I will be able to reconstruct my
house otherwise I don’t have anything,” said 48-year-old
Areas like Muhib Banda, Pashtoon Ghari and other severely
affected areas in Nowshera still wear a destructive look and
people have to content with living in semiconstructed
Agriculture and dairy farming are the main sources of income
of affected people. But a large number of people had lost
their cattle in the flood.
Some donor agencies and NGOs have done some work, but they
had not been reached to the conditions in which they were
before last year flood.
In many cases, people are using plastic sheets instead of
boundary walls of their houses, which were washed away by 10
to 12 feet deep water.
Mohammad Riaz, a resident of Rahimabad locality, said that
an NGO had constructed 80 rooms and 42 bathrooms in Pashtoon
Ghari while some donor agencies installed hand pumps and
reconstructed embankments of water channels.
The NGOs had also distributed wheat seeds and fertilisers
free of cost, enabling the farmers to cultivate their lands.
“The government should give soft loans to people to restart
their businesses instead of leaving fields for NGOs and
donors,” Mr Riaz said. However, future of the affected
people depends upon the government and donor agencies.
Officials are hopeful about payment of the remaining amount
within the next two months.
An official in the Provincial Disaster Management Authority
said that remaining payment was likely to be started by the
end of August or September next provided donor agencies
endorsed third party validation report in other provinces.
He said that compensation would be paid through Watan Cards
under the supervision of the bank.
Officials said that 300,000 Watan Cards had been distributed
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and according to PDMA 14,000 card
holders had not been paid fist installment due to multiple
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa needs Rs12 billion to be paid to the card
holders if federal government and donors fulfil their
Courtesy: The DAWN