Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snail’s pace: Floodwater stands stagnant in Chitral after 2015 floods

CHITRAL: Residents of Ayun union council in Chitral have voiced concerns over the slow pace at which floodwater is being cleared from the region.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Ghulam Ibrar and Abdullah, residents of Ayun, said more floods in Chitral are expected over the next two months. They added if efforts are not expedited, it could create obstacles in the future. According to locals, floods in July 2015 damaged pipelines in Ayun.

“A puddle, which is as large as a dam, has been created,” a speaker said. “Houses and trees have been destroyed and land has been rendered uncultivable. This has forced a large number of residents to migrate.” Locals flayed government representatives for turning a blind eye to the problem. They said the people of Ayun will be directly affected if action is not taken before the next floods strike.

Failure to protect

Ibrar and Amanullah said banks were constructed under Ayun Bridge to protect residents from flooding. At least Rs15 million was spent on the project. However, the banks were destroyed in the very same floods they were meant to protect against.

The speakers said the engineer responsible for the project failed to account for the topography of the region before initiating the scheme. According to residents, engineers are expected to build banks by ensuring measures are implemented to reduce damage caused by floods.

The speakers said no further time should be wasted in clearing floodwater from the region. They said more funds should be provided if they are required. Residents also appealed to Chitral DC Osama Ahmad Waraich to expedite efforts to clear floodwater from the region. They also urged NGOs and investors to build banks in Ayun to prevent further destruction.

In July, heavy rains and flash floods in Chitral damaged houses and infrastructure. The floods were triggered by glacial lake outbursts and cloudbursts which ravaged the region for several days.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2016.



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