Due to monsoon rains, climate change and unexpected heat that caused glacier melting in the region, whole mountainous Chitral came under heavy flood of boulders and thick mud in July/August 2015 perishing quite a number of precious lives, large number of residential houses with all belongings, business centres (stores, petrol pumps, hotels & shops) mosques, farmland with standing crops, orchard of apples and apricots, Infrastructures like drinking water pipelines, roads and bridges, power houses with channels and irrigation channels were largely destroyed and hence people in the district have acute shortage of drinking water, irrigation water and electricity.
The loss of infrastructure like roads and bridges, irrigation channels, drinking water pipelines, power houses including MHPSs with poles and distribution lines are destroyed in whole Chitral and have direct effect on whole Chitral and the people of Chitral. Devastation is so grave that its complete rehabilitation seems difficult during the year 2015. When residential houses with all their holdings, livestock and assets, farmland with standing crops, orchard with fruits, petrol pumps and shops with all commodities and assets are perished under heavy boulders and mud and in most of the areas cannot be rehabilitated. These losses have directly affected some but indirectly affected again all the people in Chitral. In short the calamities has and is badly affecting whole Chitral. Honorable Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Moulana Sirajul Haq and Pervez Khattak visited Chitral making very good statements and announcements but question mark on its timely implementation and execution. More than 3 weeks passed, government has not been able to restore pedestal road at Kuragh, Shogore, Kalash valley,
Torkhow, Mulkhow and Yarkhun valley and drinking water to Chitral town. We see that NGOs like Aga Khan Development Network (FOCUS),
Alkhidmat Foundation, Khidmat-e-Insaniat Foundation, Chitral Police and some individuals are seen offering their social responsibilities i.e. exemplary services for relief and support to the affectees in whole Chitral. Condition of direct and indirect affectees shall have been worse if these organizations were not there. Local community of Balach, Singore, Sinlasht and Dolomutch colony did excellent job protecting Chitral Power House from being eroded by river. People of Lotkoh and Mastuj tehsils have started clearing their roads for pedestal and light traffic on self help basis. We know and see that our 3+1 public representatives (3 in opposition) are also working their level best and according to their capacity and authority meeting affectees in their jurisdiction. Major relief work is carried out by Pak Force providing food to the affectees in the interior and carrying the restrained persons to their work places.
As worker of a civil society organization I travelled to some affected villages and found Pak Force, NGOs and the local persons (not directly affected) are firmly standing by affectees providing food, drinking water, clothes and beds to them in their tents. Aga Khan Foundation Focus and Alkhidmat Foundation services are exemplary and highly appreciated.
Officials and development practitioners must have gone through the affected villages to study and by now must have developed some thought and ideas for the relief and rehabilitation of Chitral and the people of Chitral. As a worker of Local Support Organization (LSO) I have some ideas and thought in my mind (urgent relief short, medium & long term relief) that I am sharing it with concerned officials/stakeholders in District, Province and also in the Centre. The suggestions are as under:-
Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and DC Chitral to monitor
1. Chief Minister KPK to request the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan to spare their Helicopters for Chitral to air lift food to the cut off affected areas and for evacuation of restrained persons enabling them to reach their work place and destination.
2. FWO to seriously study hiring Golengole Power Project expertise and machinaries for cutting mountains and ensure opening of Kuragh for heavy traffic as soon as possible, followed by Mastuj to Broghel, Chitral to Gobore, Ayoun to Kalash valleys and Mulkhow/Torkhow valleys. Keeping in view the nature, size and importance/need of work more teams constituted and deputed on all damaged sites.
3. Mastuj Shandur road to be repaired urgently for heavy traffic for bringing food and fuel from Gilgit via Shandur as announced by MD Utility Stores Corporation and agreed by Pakistan State Oil Company (PSO) for Mastuj, Torkhow and Mulkhow Tehsils.
4. Roads inside Mastuj,Torkhow and Mulkhow tehsils to be repaired for light traffic for quick deliveries of food to the affected villages.
5. Pedestal road from Ayoun to Kalash valleys, from Rundur to Mogh and upward from Garumchishma to Gubor be opened on emergency basis.
6. Public Health Engineering Department, Water & Sanitation Unit and Town/Tehsil Municipal Administration to ensure providing drinking water to the people in town/municipal areas with support from Abdul Wali Khan University, Frontier Corps, Al-khidmat Foundation, Chitral Police and some individuals. For rehabilitation of drinking water in the interior and also in the town areas, water pipes to be provided to the village/women organizations for rehabilitation of drinking water by themselves.
Medium Term Relief Plan.
1. Since all people of Chitral are directly and indirectly affected by flood calamities, the need is that all loans up to Rs.3 million be written off. This shall provide relief to the people in Chitral.
2. Plot for construction of residential houses perished or damaged and not usable (1037 houses Focus report) be granted with compensation announced and soft loan for construction of new houses on the plot.
3. Heavy machineries provided for digging & widening of flood courses ensuring that flood pass through without interruption.
4. Continuous raining has destroyed standing crops in Tehsils of Mastuj, Torkhow, Mulkhow, Lotkoh and in Kalash valley. This destruction has directly and indirectly affected all in Chitral. To meet out this loss the Government is requested to arrange ways and means for providing food grain subsidy for about 10 years.
5. Payments of tuition fee, books, notebooks and uniform to students of affected families studying in schools, colleges and in universities in and outside Chitral be made by the Government.
Long Term Relief Plan.
1. Whole Chitral and people of Chitral are directly and indirectly affected and it is a high as well as the right time that Centre and Province to build it up again through a long term development project by establishing an independent organization. Honorable Prime Minister during his visit to Chitral in July has promised to allocate fund for full rehabilitation of Chitral and the people of Chitral.
2. KPK government to keep Chitral on top of the list for allocation of annual developmental fund for its rehabilitation through local representatives and government recently elected and also ensure involving Local Support Organizations (LSOs) working with village and women organizations (v/wos) in grass root level.
3. Public representatives (3+1) of Chitral to closely study the needs of their jurisdiction and spend their funds on priority basis in flood affected villages.
4. Ensure establishment of utility store warehouses at Mastuj and at Booni as announced by MD of Utility Stores Corporation during his recent visit to Chitral.
5. People of Chitral are anxiously waiting for construction work on Chitral Motorways starting from Chitral and also hope that Lowari Tunnel construction shall be completed by end 2016 as announced by Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan in Chitral.
6. Job quotas for candidates belonging to flood affected families be fixed in all nation building department of Chitral.
7. Government to write off National, Commercial and Micro Finance Bank mark up on loan to all affected people in Chitral for about 10 years.
8. Mineral Department KPK to cancel all dormant leases awarded to non local persons on contact basis and make them available to local applicants and as such enable locals to work and earn making their living condition improve on permanent basis.