ISLAMABAD, Sept 12: Hundreds of 2005 earthquake affected people including women of northern Hazara areas and flood affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) on Wednesday converged at Aabpara’s Community Centre in Islamabad to protest government’s failure to rehabilitate them in seven long years.

Women and men from KPK disaster-affected districts of Kohistan, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Nowshehra, Charsadda, Mardan, Abbottabad, Battagram, Mansehra, Haripur, Swabi and Swat reached the federal capital to raise their voice against federal and provincial government’s apathy.

The quake affected from Balakot were among the protestors who were kept waiting for constructed houses, in newly built town but are forced to live in makeshift shelters with no signs of a new town.

They also expressed their anger and discontent with government response to the devastating 2010 floods that affected more than 20 million people and the 2005 earthquake that devastated an estimated 3.5 million people at a Peoples Assembly on Disaster and Budgets organised by a NGO.

“Two years ago, the 2010 floods destroyed our homes, lands and livelihoods — but we have seen little government assistance for rehabilitation,” said Khanzada from Dera Ismail Khan.

Equally critical were people affected by the 2005 earthquake.

“Seven years have passed since the terrible earthquake destroyed everything — and yet our schools and health facilities have not been rebuilt,” complained Saira from Abbottabad.

“We were given assurances that our areas would be built back better, but even after seven years many of us are still living in makeshift shelters, waiting for the promised New Balakot City,” said Malik Irshad and Khurshid from Balakot.

Rashida Dohad presented government data that reconfirms public experiences.

According to ERRA, only a little more than half of the planned 14,555 rehabilitation projects are complete as of September 2012.

Nearly 60 per cent of planned education projects and 42 per cent of health projects are still not complete.

Addressing the assembly, the leaders criticised the government’s dismal response to disasters. “The government has failed even in the face of unimaginable human misery,” said Ali Asghar Khan, head of the NGO.

Allocations for floods are marked by gross inequity. Dera Ismail Khan was among the worst affected by the 2010 floods, with an estimated 395,000 people affected. Yet it was only allocated 1.54 per cent of total funds for flood in FY2011-12, and 1.64 per cent in FY2012-13. Assistance to Kohistan and Nowshehra, also among the worst affected, fell far short of their due share calculated on the basis of the numbers of people affected.

Participants also demanded reconstruction of schools, health facilities and roads. “The Government must give us the money promised through Watan Cards,” they said.

Opinion

A velvet glove

A velvet glove

The general didn’t have an easy task when he took over, but in retrospect, he managed it rather well.

Editorial

Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...
23 May, 2022

Defection rulings

By setting aside the existing law to prescribe their own solutions, the institutions haven't really solved the crisis at hand.
23 May, 2022

Spirit of the law

WOMEN’S right to inheritance is often galling for their male relatives in our patriarchal society. However, with...
23 May, 2022

Blaming others

BLAMING the nebulous ‘foreign hand’ for creating trouble within our borders is an age-old method used by the...