LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided to start a damage assessment survey in flood-hit areas from Sept 12 and rehabilitation of the affected people from Sept 27 after completion of the survey.

The decision was taken at the fourth meeting of the ministerial committee for disaster management, constituted by the chief minister, to review the flood-relief activities.

The meeting, held at Civil Secretariat, was presided over by Punjab Minister for Parlia­mentary Affairs Mohammad Basharat Raja.

The meeting suggested that the people living along the ‘flood range’ should be permanently relocated to safer places by constructing houses with the government help.

Senior Member of Board of Revenue Zahid Akhtar Zaman said that some welfare organisations had also offered to build houses for the affected people.

Rehabilitation phase to begin from Sept 27

“Teams have been formed to conduct the survey starting from the next week. As soon as the survey is completed, distribution of relief funds and construction of houses will be started,” he told the meeting.

Mr Raja said that after relief activities, “we are moving towards the rehabilitation phase”.

He said the chief minister wanted the flood victims rehabilitated on a war footing. “No department should be lax in assessing the difficulties of the affected people and all departments concerned should give their own roadmaps for rehabilitation,” he said.

Mr Raja expressed his satisfaction over the constitution of a committee under the leadership of Dr Sania Nishtar to utilise the chief minister’s flood relief fund.

An action plan was also discussed during the meeting to deliver flood relief funds to affected people in a transparent manner.

Dr Nishtar, who joined through a video link, said PTI Chairman Imran Khan had issued clear instructions that no stone should be left unturned in helping the flood-affected families.

Mr Raja called for a feasibility report on the construction of dams along hill torrents without delay. “People whose houses were not built on their own land will be settled on government lands,” he said.

He said that on the instructions of the chief minister, medical teams had also been sent from Punjab to Sindh and Balochistan.

He directed the district administrations and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to take into loop Punjab Assembly members of their respective areas during relief and rehabilitation activities.

The meeting was apprised that a majority of the flood-affected families had gone back to their native areas.

“Settled areas suffered more damage than the riverine areas. The Punjab government is buying 25,000 more tents for the affected families,” the briefing was told.

Finance Minister Mohsin Laghari said 60,000 houses were partially damaged in the floods in Punjab and tents had been provided to 40,000 of them.

“The Punjab government is also approving purchase of additional relief goods worth Rs390 million for affected people,” the minister said.

He directed the district administration to prohibit the resettlement of people in areas affected by flash floods.

Minister for Agriculture Syed Hussain Jahanian Gardezi stressed the need for an early assessment of the crop damage and payment of compensation to affected farmers. Revenue Minister Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmed Khan also attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2022

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