President underlines need to build dams to counter floods

F.P. Report
DERA GHAZI KHAN / NASEERABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi Thursday stressed the need to improve flood warning system and highlighted the importance of building big dams to control floods and enhance water storage capacity.
President Alvi expressed his views during a visit to flood hit areas of Dera Ghazi Khan where district administration briefed him on floods and the trail of destruction it left behind, according to a statement issued by media wing of the President House. The president expressed grave concerns over the loss of life, damages to standings crops spread over more than 300,000 acre area, thousands of buildings, homes destroyed and cattle heads killed in floods. The president said that compensating the affected people should be the top most priority of the government.
Dr. Alvi said that attention should be paid to building delay action dams to store water from hill torrents in DG Khan. He said that building bigger dams was vital to control floods and enhance water storage capacity. The president said that efforts should be made to ensure compensation is paid to the affected people soonest. He said that farmers should be encouraged to opt for crop insurance which, he added, could be helpful in getting their losses compensated in natural disasters. President Dr. Arif Alvi also visited a relief camp where he met the flood affected people, sympathized with them and asked them about the level of difficulties being faced by them.
He said that he was in DG Khan to meet them, to make them feel they were not alone in these testing times and that government was there to help them out. He said that the first phase largely focused on saving lives which was more important than anything else. The administration made untiring efforts in saving lives and making basic facilities available to people, he said adding that rehabilitation process should begin soon.
Dr. Arif Alvi said that hill torrents from Suleman Mountain Range witnessed extraordinarily high level of water this year that caused deaths, and destruction of infrastructure and buildings. He underlined the need for making boys scouts and girls guides organizations more effective and functional to help in rescue and relief activities carried out by the government and armed forces.
He said floods played havoc in all the provinces. He said that Punjab government had provided Rs 800,000 to heirs of each person who died in floods in DG Khan and Rajanpur. President advised officials to remain alert as there was the possibility of disease outbreak in post-flood scenario and bring improvement in their health care systems to provide heath care facilities to the people.
Commissioner DG Khan informed the president that there were seven hill torrents that usually support water flow in case of rains on mountains. However, this year, unusual water flow in four hill torrents caused destruction which was more than what people had suffered in 2010 floods. He said that so far 48 people had died, 20 of them due to ferocious hill torrent waters and 28 others in house collapse incidents. He said that 90 people suffered serious injuries while another 800 received minor injuries. Commissioner said that floods killed 383 big animals and 1136 small animals. He added that total 11,409 homes were destroyed completely and 13,275 were damaged partially. Floods also damaged 116 school buildings, 33 hospitals, two colleges and 1055 kilometres long road, he added.
Briefing about rescue operations, commissioner said that 20,000 people were evacuated to safer places by 1183 rescuers and 92 boats. He said that 42 relief camps besides tent villages, 69 medical camps and 70 veterinary camps had been set up. Exactly 12,604 tents were provided to affected people for temporary shelter while 4240 wheat flour bags, 38,484 ration bags were distributed among them and 3532 daigs of cooked food were also provided to them.
Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed full confidence in the proven ability and resolve of the nation to stand with the flood victims during such difficult times by generous donations in cash and kind and in helping the government in the rescue and relief activities until complete rehabilitation of the flood victims throughout the country. The President gave these remarks during his visit to relief camps in Dera Murad Jamali, Naseerabad, Balochistan and Sukkur, Sindh.
Talking to the flood affectees, the President said that he was deeply saddened to witness the immense damage caused by super floods to the lives, property, livestock, houses, transport, communication infrastructure and standing crops in the flood-hit areas, including Dera Ghazi Khan, Naseerabad, Dera Murad Jamali, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, and Ratodero.
He noted with satisfaction that the federal and provincial governments, armed forces, administrations, NGOs and people were cooperating with each other to restore the damaged infrastructure and carry out rescue and relief efforts to save the lives of people in the flood-hit areas and help them survive in harsh conditions.
He reiterated his appeal to the international community and the people of Pakistan to provide generous donations through funds announced by the government and registered organizations including Hilal-e-Ahmar to provide ready-to-eat dry rations packets, tents, potable water and other necessities of life to help the flood victims in these difficult times.
He expressed his full confidence in the grit and tenacity of the flood affectees to remain strong in the face of this natural disaster and prayed for Allah’s help to give the nation the courage and means to restore the lives of the people to normal which was severely affected by the super floods.
He appreciated the disbursement of 99% compensation to those families who had lost their loved ones and the provision of food and medical supplies in the camps. He said that this climate change affected weather system in Baluchistan was causing prolonged dry spells, causing drought and famines, and on the other hand pouring unpredictable heavy rains which caused floods. These conditions can be converted into an opportunity by saving rainwater by delay-action dams and enhancing the water storage capacity of the existing dams and using it during droughts, he added.
The President expressed full confidence in the ability of the nation to rise in the face of natural disasters, like floods or earthquakes, helping the flood-affected countrymen through their philanthropic spirit and restoring the lives of the people who had been severely affected by this calamity. During his visit, the President was told that 32 out of 34 districts in Balochistan had been declared “Calamity Hit”. It was informed that more than 4,000 ration bags and 2,100 tents had been distributed in the Naseerabad district of Balochistan.