BAHAWALPUR: The district administration taking a lead in the province, has introduced a computerised system to monitor the functioning and to support the flood relief camps and track down the flood-affected people in Uch Sharif area of Ahmedpur East Tehsil.

During the flood, as many as 35,000 people of 35 villages and localities were dislocated. Of them, about 16,000 had moved to the flood protection dykes and other nearby safer places. Prior to the flood, the provincial government had directed the district administration to arrange cooked meal three times a day, clean water and shelter to all the dislocated people irrespective of their registration at the flood relief camps and location in the area.

Anticipating this challenge, the district administration had tasked the Punjab Urban Unit, an organisation of the department of planning and development (P&D) of the Punjab government, with developing an android app, which could track the flood-affected people.

According to District Coordination Officer (DCO) Imran Skindar Baloch, it was a joint effort of the Bahawalpur Service Delivery Unit (BSDU) and Punjab Urban Unit.

The DCO said under the system the application was fed in android phones and handed over to Monitoring Evaluation and Assistants (MEAs) of the education department. Three MEA teams twice a day during flood days travelled across 40 kilometres on the flood protection dykes and fed data wherever they found the affected people looking for shelter. The data along with a photograph was sent through MMS to the BSDU control room in Bahawalpur.

The control room with the help of the system showed the exact position and number of victims twice a day. The information was viewed by the district administration officials present in the flood-hit areas and immediate supplies of meals were dispatched to the localities.

Using the system, the DCO claimed, the officials successfully provided meals to 18,000 people over six days and there was no major complaint about food not reaching out to the flood-stricken.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during his visit to Bella Jhallan flood relief camp near Uch Sharif not only appreciated the concept but also directed the authorities concerned to share the system across Punjab.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd , 2014