DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The record monsoon rains and floods caused Rs10 billion damage to infrastructure, houses and crops in Dera Ismail Khan division and the government has been informed about it, commissioner Amir Afaq said on Tuesday.

Accompanied by local government and rural development minister Faisal Amin Gandapur, the commissioner told reporters here that the monsoon disaster had left a trail of death and destruction in Dera Ismail Khan division with 20 people killed and 85 injured and infrastructure, houses and crops destroyed on a large scale.

He said floodwaters hit 236 villages in Dera Ismail Khan district and 70 in Tank district damaging around 3,900 houses, 31 schools and infrastructure, including highways.

Mr Afaq said the Pakistan Army, police, Frontier Corps, relevant departments and elected representatives were helping the administration carrying out rescue and relief operations in the calamity-hit areas.

Commissioner says 20 killed, houses, crops, infrastructure destroyed in division

He said the next major step would be rehabilitation, which, too, was to be performed successfully.

The commissioner said the administration was in contact with the National Highway Authority for the speedy repair of major highways. He said the Chashma Road had been opened to traffic, while food, tents, mats and non-food items were distributed to the disaster victims.

Mr Afaq said the Pesco had been engaged to restore power supply to flood-hit areas.

Minister Faisal Amin Gandapur said the chief minister had ordered the use of his helicopter for rescue and relief activities.

He said philanthropists should come forward to help out flood victims generously.

The minister said he had contacted international welfare organisations for relief work.

He said the government would ensure fair distribution of government aid.

Mr Gandapur declared the construction of dams vital for development and said had the Gomal Zam Dam not been constructed, the Dera Ismail Khan city would have been destroyed by the recent floods.

He also appreciated the relevant departments for carrying out rescue and relief operations.

The minister said more rain fell in the region than what the Met Office forecast.

He said 61,000 acres of agricultural land was affected by the floods.

“Rescue activities are under way but the next phase of rehabilitation will be really difficult,” he said.

Mr Gandapur said the Chashma Right Bank Canal would be restored to ensure the restoration of agriculture.

He praised the Pakistan Army and police for contribution to rescue and relief activities and said the helicopter provided by the Pakistan Army was a great help.

The minister said southern districts of the province were neglected by the successive governments but Chief Minister Mahmood Khan prioritised its development.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2022

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