Nothing but devastation in sight

Seventy-year-old Faqir Muhammad hailing from district Nowshera sits in front of his damaged house. “I evacuated my family and moved them them to safer place but we lost everything in the flood. I built this home for my kids and it was our only shelter but now it’s been taken from us by the floods,” says Faqir, as tears roll down his face.

Faqir and his family shifted to a camp but the situation in the camp was very bad as his family needed medicines and food. The government and not-for-profits were only distributing rice and water, which is not enough.

Similarly Manzoor Khan, a resident of Bahrain Swat while talking to The Express Tribune said that he had never seen such a flood as it has washed away everything. “These floods were more powerful in destruction than the floods of 2010,” he said.

“People have lost billions of rupees and the hotel industry is fully damaged. Most of the hotels in Bahrain and Kalam have either collapsed or gotten damaged,” khan added.

Swat, Bahrain and Kalam bazaar, which were previously hot spots for tourists where everything was brightly lit and the energy was lively, now comprise of nothing but mud and water everywhere.

Similarly, district Charsadda was also one of the most affected districts of KP. Most of the people on the river side were affected and were forced to migrate to safer places where they are now living in camps.

Captain Iftikhar Khan while talking to The Express Tribune said that like other districts of KP, Nowshera was also affected by the floods and many villages had to migrate and are now living in schools or camps.“There was water everywhere in Nowshera and while the water flow decreased now, people need tents, food and medical camps as different diseased like diarrhea and other skin diseases are spreading,” added Khan.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about 290 people have died and 351 people were injured as a result of various accidents due to rains and floods across the province. According to further details, 35,357 houses were completely damaged while 52,789 houses were partially damaged. The total number of houses damaged across the province were 88,146. PDMA, District Administration and other relevant departments evacuated 406,568 people to safe places before the floods while 69,775 people were rescued through rescue operations in different districts. 675,348 people have been displaced.

Moreover, cooked food was provided to 850,680 people and 214,751 people have been provided dry food. The report further added that D.I. Khan was the most affected district where 25 people lost their lives during the floods out of which 13 were men, 10 were children and two were women. In Bajor district 13 people, 14 people in Karak, 13 people in Lakki Marwat, 13 people in Lowe Kohistan, 22 people in Mansehra, 15 people in Mardan, 14 people in South Waziristan, 25 people in Swat and eight people in Upper Dir died due to the floods.

The PDMA report further added that around 8,777 cattle were perished due to floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, In D. I. Khan 8,453 cattle perished, 40 in Karak, 16 in Lower Kohistan, 11 in North Waziristan, 28 in Swabi, 7 in Swat and 12 in Bajor.

The report added that a total 45,000 houses were damaged in the province: around 22,690 houses were fully damaged, while 22,310 houses were partially damaged. Moreover, 18 schools were also damaged across the province.

According to the District Administration Swat, around 22 people died in the recent flood while 33 Mosques were also damaged, 722 houses, 260 shops, 15 fish hatcheries, 23 bridges and 44 hotels were destroyed in the floods.

According to Shafeeq Gigyani, a social worker who has recently launched a website that shares updates on the devastation in KP, “The floods have washed away everything and people need medicines, tents and food on an emergency basis.”

“Due to political differences of all parties in Pakistan, climate change was never a priority of any government,” he added.

Most of the destruction and damaged houses were in Kalam, Bahrain and Swat as most of the construction in these areas was either illegal or due to encroachment. “Such situations will continue to be an issue unless encroachment is stopped and action is taken,” he said.

Commissioner D.I.Khan Amir Afaq said that due to the recent monsoon flood in D.I.Khan and South districts, around 20 people died while 85 people were injured.

He further said that 3,900 houses were damaged in the district while 70 houses were damaged in district Tank, adding that more than 30 schools was damaged while bridges also collapsed in the flood.

Secretary Agriculture Doctor Israr Khan said that due to the floods in KP there was a fear of food insecurity in the province, adding that 90.6 billion crops and vegetables standing in meadows, 3 billion water channels, 2 billion livestock were lost in the province due to the floods.

Before the floods, thousands of livestock had died due to the lumpy skin disease as thousand of animals had died because of the disease while the recent flood also washed away animals, adding that the farmers at one side lost his crop as well as animals.

The recent floods also washed away grave yards in Charsadda and Nowshera.

In Nowshera, 55 camps have been set up by the district administration for the flood affected people, where around 35,000 people were accommodated.

Gul Sanga one of the affected women from the flood in Nowshera while talking with T-Magazine said that there were many issues for the women, especially for the pregnant women.

She further added that there were no sanitary pads, no proper food and no clean drinking water as well as clean toilets.

Dr Salma Naheed, who is working as a medical officer in a camp for the flood affected people, said that there was lack of proper food for the women as well as for the children, adding there were still medicines and other supplements needed for women living in camps.

According to The Provincial Disaster Management Authority Khyber Pakhtunkhwa around 159 relief camps have been established in the province. In district Nowshera alone, 77 relief camps were established while 11 camps were established in D. I. Khan and 17 in District Charsadda, where food, water and other provisions were distributed to the people.

Director General Provincial Disaster Management Authority KP Sharif Hussain said that rehabilitation work was in progress in the affected areas, adding that the provincial government was utilising all it resources to help the flood affected people.

He said that the government has established flood control roomd as well as the Pak-Army and other relief teams were working day and night in rehabilitation in the affected areas of the floods.

The recent flood not only affected people but most of the farmers were also affected and their cash crop was washed away, especially in district Nowshera and Charsadda, which is known for its agriculture land.

Due to the floods, the price of vegetables is now quite steep in the province and it is beyond poor people’s expectations to purchase it for their homes.

The recent flood also affected the farm fishing units, especially around 200 trout fish farms established in Swat, Bahrain, Madayn and other areas of Malakand division were washed away by the floods.

The flood affected not only the hotel industry but also those people who were in the business of fish farming especially in Malakand division where trout fish is supplied to other parts of the country.

Experts said that there is currently a fear of lack of food in the province as the daily food items prices is so high that no one can get it.

Professor Muhammad Nafees at The University of Peshawar said that the environmental experts and weather department had already predicted the floods but no proper planning was done by the government.

He further added that most of the hotels in Bahrain, Kalam and Swat were build in the river, adding that those building which were build on the river side were collapsed.

He further informed that encroachment on the river side is a big issue and until this issues were not solved such like devastation we will be facing in the future as well.

Advisor to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister Muhmmad Ali Saif said that the provincial government with its limited resources is working to provide all possible help to the flood affected people, adding that the roads and bridges which were washed away by the flood will take time to rebuild.

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