Punjab estimates Rs107bn flood losses
By Intikhab Hanif
LAHORE: The Punjab government has estimated an initial loss of Rs107 billion caused by the floods, seeking around Rs25 billion from the federal government for immediate rescue and relief measures, and restoring the communication network.
Official sources informed Dawn on Thursday that as per initial estimates, the provincial government immediately needed Rs37.5 billion for these three tasks.
Since it lacked such amounts, it had requested the federal government to immediately provide it with Rs25 billion.
The province would be requiring, as per the initial estimates, another Rs67 billion for rehabilitating the areas and people direly affected by the floods especially in the river Indus.
“These are the initial estimates and the cost can rise because flood water is still affecting Muzaffargarh and adjoining places,” a senior official said.
The gravely affected places include Muzaffargarh, Qamar Mastani, Issa Khel, Daira Din Panah, Kot Addu, Jampur, Mithankot, Sinawan, Chachran Sharif and Rojhan.
As per initial estimates 3,000 villages, 8.2 million people, 5.23 million acres and crops over 3.5 million acres were affected by the floods. As many as 100 people were killed in the floods which also leveled 500,000 houses.
The floods have affected two types of people: one, those settled in the riverine areas and along the beds of the river Indus; two, settled in urban areas. Those living along the riverside have not been badly affected and they face temporary displacements, say the officials.
They can be rehabilitated by waiving their water cess, providing them with loans for the next crops and funds for reconstructing their houses, and grains for sustenance. The urban areas have never seen such calamity. These areas included Rojhan, Kot Addu, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur.
In Sindh, the floods mainly affected those settled in the riverine areas. And the main problem was being faced in the settled area of Ghauspur and those located across the river. Officials said the people and infrastructure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan suffered the most because of the driving rain and flash flooding.
“Settlements in the path of the river Indus and other rivers or nullahs have proved to be the main human fault,” an official said.