Peshawar - Faced with exorbitant prices of construction materials and labour cost, the flood victims of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were confronted with a monster challenge of rebuilding of their houses destroyed during torrential rains and flash floods that wreaked havoc to people’s lives and properties.

Looking for the government assistance to rebuild his house, Misal Khan, a retired government employee and resident of village Dheri Mian Ishaq Nowshera whose house was collapsed during recent torrential rains, was thinking to reuse 40 years old bricks and iron rods to reconstruct his residence as buying of fresh construction material were beyond his financial strength.

“I along with my family were busy at breakfast when two rooms of my house suddenly caved in due to breakage of a wooden sleeper amid heavy rains,” said Misal Khan, who was sprinkling water on a newly raised stone-made foundation told APP.

The situation, he said, was unbearable for him as cost of the construction materials including cement, stones, bricks, sand and iron rods had gone beyond his financial capacity.

Worried about the upcoming winter season with wreckage of the collapsed house everywhere, Khan said the price of one bag cement has crossed Rs1,000 mark while iron rods were being sold at Rs210,000 to Rs220,000 per ton, Rs52,000 per 4,000 bricks and Rs15,00 per day labour charges in market forced him to reuse the 40-year-old construction material.

Misal said he was abreast of the shortcomings of reusing the old construction materials, however he has no other options in the wake of high rebuilding cost.

Pinning hopes on the landmark package of Rs37.2 billion announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for flood victims of the country including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he urged the departments concerned for early release of Rs500,000 package meant for reconstruction of each destroyed house to enable thousands of affectees to rebuild their houses before the advent of the winter season.

Like Misal Khan, hundreds of thousands of flood victims have pinned high expectations from the Prime Minister’s package and termed it a ray of hope for the affected population.

The data collected from various departments revealed that the recent torrential rains and floods had broken the 30 years record, affecting over three million people in the country including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Besides maximum 1539.5 millimetres rain recorded recently at Pudedin in Rural Sindh, about 830 people including 326 children, 337 male and 180 women perished and 1,348 injured during flash floods and torrential rains related incidents.

Maximum casualties were reported in Sindh where about 239 people died and 701 injured, 225 deaths and 95 injured in Balochistan, 168 lost lives and 228 wounded in KP and 151 deaths and 300 injured in Punjab since June 14 till to-date.

Flash floods and torrential rains also destroyed and damaged about 413,000 houses in Pakistan including 3,32,000 in Sindh, 38,887 in Punjab, 28,567 in Balochistan and  14,000 houses in KP.

Similarly, standing crops on around two million acres were destroyed while 707,000 cattle, 2,886 kilometres roads and 129 bridges washed away in 116 districts. Swat Motorway has been closed near Chakdarra for traffic due to land-sliding and efforts were underway for its reopening.

D I Khan and Chitral had been declared as calamity-hit districts by the KP government while floods emergency was imposed in Tank district.

KP Chief Minister directed the authorities concerned to shift flood affected people of Swat to safer places following flash floods and torrential rains and to expedite relief operations.

Ikhtiar Wali Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-N Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spokesman and member provincial assembly said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced a huge relief package worth Rs37.2 billion for help and assistance of flood victims. He said over nine million people including KP would benefit from the Prime Minister’s flood relief package.

Besides Rs5 lakh for reconstruction of each destroyed house, he said that Rs1 million was being provided to heirs of each deceased of floods and torrential rains.

Despite pressing official engagements, he said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had recently visited flood-hit D I Khan and Tank districts where he inspected relief operations.

“Floods devastation in Balochistan and KP was high. The rehabilitation of flood victims was collective responsibility of the entire nation,” he said, adding the Prime Minister has also appealed to philanthropists to come forward and generously contribute for the assistance of flood-affected people.

Ikhtair Wali highly praised Pakistan Army, National Building Departments, Rescue 1122, NDMA, PDMA, district administrations and others relief organisations for their extended help and assistance during the natural calamity.