Flood threats haunt ministry

ISLAMABAD - At a time when Pakistan has spent millions of rupees for the reconstruction of infrastructure in different parts of the country and many other projects have still been in doldrums since the 2010 flash floods, another threat of current year 2011 floods is looming. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in its threat perception has cautioned that around two million people could be affected from floods this year as intensity will not be like previous years floods. It could be hard to properly cater current years floods, as due to destruction of previous years floods concerned departments are still not in a position for reconstruction work, well-placed communication ministry told TheNation. Mantra about paucity of funds is the repeated answer of government which is not the solution of issues, besides the earmarked money for vital projects is too meagre to complete these projects in time, they said. The figure available to TheNation revealed that Pakistan had spent Rs 1,340 million immediately after 2010 flash floods for transportation requirements. According to the details, Rs 135 million for N-5, Rs 88.6 million for N-5A, Rs 157.2 million for N-10, Rs 129.4 million for N-45, Rs 171.5 million for N-65, Rs 277 million for N-55 and others were immediately spent for reconstruction. While this year 2011, sources said, in case of severe situation immediate release might be not that easy which could create tense situation. When the government has not enough money to complete its vital projects, how it could immediately respond to emergency situation, said Ministry sources sharing the situation. It is relevant to mention here that National Highway Authority (NHA) has established 'flood emergency cells to tackle any likely disastrous situation due to the current monsoon rains. In this regards, focal persons have also been appointed to serve relief activity with the cooperation of other concerned organisations. Apart from loss of lives, the figures show that in 2010 country had witnessed devastating affects on around 657 kilometres of roads and 35 bridges. The concerned authorities had approved amounts Rs24billion for the reconstruction of roads, bridges, and highways damaged due to flash floods but the matter for release of money is still pending after passing a year-thanks to concerned authorities. The recently appointed Chairman National Highway Authority Syed Muhammad Ali Gardezi has ordered for setting up Flood Emergency Cells at all regional offices but again the question arise about the utility of these cells in emergency situation. It would not be out of place to mention here that though NDMA had informed that 10 percent decrease in the rains was expected which would be around 124millimeter, but at the same it the authority warned that in case of worst situation not more than 6 million might suffer it. The available figure shows that damaged roads under National Highway Authority(NHA) are around 657kilometers with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 260 kilometres (Kms), Punjab 88 kilometres (Kms), Sindh 139 kilometres (Kms) and Balochistan 20 kilometres (Kms) In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the damaged roads are N-5 (Khairabad-Torkham), N-55 (Ramak-Peshawar), N-50 (DI Khan-Zhob), N-45 (Nowshera-Chitral),N-90 (Khwazakhela-Besham),n-95 (Chakdara-Kalam),M-1(Peshawar-Indus bridge). In Punjab damaged roads are N-5(Kot sabzal-Khairabad), N-5A 9Khanewal-Bhawalpur), N-55 (Kashmor-Ramak),N-70 (Multan-bewata),N-75 (Islamabad-Kohala),N-80 . In Sindh, N-5(Karachi-Kot sabzal),N-55 (Kotri-Kashmor),N-65 (sukkar-Jacobabad),M-9 (Karachi-Hyderabad).In Balochistan N-10 (Makran coastal highway), N-25 (Karachi-Quetta-Chaman), N-50 (Kuchlak-Zhob), N-65 (Jaccobabad-Quetta) and N-70.

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