Rainstorm alert raised for Malakand, Hazara

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PESHAWAR: The Provincial Disaster Management Authority on Monday put the administrations of districts in Malakand and Hazara divisions on high alert forecasting more thundershowers and gusty winds on Tuesday (today).

The alert was sounded to ready rescue teams for possible emergency situation.

In the day, the death toll from Sunday’s ‘mini-cyclone’ and torrential rains in Peshawar and adjoining areas reached 45.

Provincial Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak paidseparate visits to the rainstorm-hit areas and Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and examined damages and saw calamity victims.

Information minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani told reporters at the Civil Secretariat that relief activities were underway in the calamity-hit areas and that different government departments were involved in them.

He said Rs13 million was available with the district administration for disaster management, while Rs100 million more would be released shortly.

The minister said 10 relief teams were actively participating in relief activities.

He said the government would soon announce compensation for the damages caused by the calamity to public life and property.

Ghani said 2,000 blankets, 1,000 hygiene kits, cooked rice and other edible items had been distributed among the people in rain-hit areas.

Riaz Mehsud, who was also in attendance, said all roads were cleared from uprooted trees by early morning and that there was no hurdle to the vehicular traffic.

He said restoration of electricity was in progress.

“Most damages occurred in slums,” he said.

There were reports of rainstorm severely damaging standing wheat crop and peach, plum, apricot and pear orchards.

Moving scenes were seen when the calamity victims were laid to rest in the affected areas.

Among the deceased were seven members of a family, including a woman, her five children and a close relative, who all were laid to rest in Pakha Ghulam area.

The Peshawar district administration began damage need assessment.

In the district, a large number of houses were destroyed or partially damaged due to the rainstorm.

Also in the day, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak visited the Lady Reading Hospital and inquired after those injured in the disaster.

He later told reporters that 26 calamity victims were admitted to the hospital and that their condition was stable.

“The government will reconstruct damaged houses,” he said.

He was accompanied by information minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani and health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai.

When a reporter insisted he (chief minister) visited the hospital only after electronic media criticised him, Khattak got annoyed and said: “I am neither a doctor nor the hospital’s administrator that I should be here to provide medical care to the injured. Instead, I am here to boost the morale of those who suffered injuries in the calamity.”

When asked about the PDMA’s failure to act promptly, he said the authority was not a force to reach the calamity-hit areas and rather, it was the responsibility of Rescue 1122 to do so.

He said the Rescue 1122 teams were visible in the areas devastated by rains.

During a visit to calamity-hit areas, the governor said the wealthy people should come forward and help those in trouble without delay.

He went to the houses of brothers Shahpur and Malyar in Wahid Ghari area on Charsadda Road and announced Rs0.5 million each for the deceased on behalf of the prime minister and Rs50,000 each to the injured.

The governor also announced Rs50,000 each for the deceased from Pakistan Baitul Mal funds.

He gave Rs50,000 cash to the injured on the spot.

Sardar Mahtab ordered the provision of Rs100,000 each for repairs to all those, whose houses were damaged.

He said 200 tents should be provided to the rainstorm-hit people in Wahid Ghari, while ration cards should be issued to calamity victims for 40kg food packages.

The governor later visited the Lady Reading Hospital and inquired after the injured.

He went to many wards, met the inured and provided Rs50,000 to everyone of them on behalf of the prime minister and Rs25,000 each from the Pakistan Baitul Mal funds.

Sardar Mahtab ordered the provision of wheelchairs to some of the injured.

APP adds: PTI chairman Imran Khan’s wife Reham Khan on Monday visited the Lady Reading Hospital and inquired after the victims of the natural calamity.

She told reporters that she was grieved by loss of human lives in the calamity.

She said the PTI government was ensuring speedy provision of relief goods to the calamity victims in the province.

“It’s regrettable that a warning couldn’t be given for bad weather in advance,” she said.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2015

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