PESHAWAR: The government on Tuesday stopped providing assistance to the flood victims in an attempt to force people to return to their native homes.
The people staying in camps at different schools of Peshawar were assured that they would be provided relief once they returned home. But given the quality of relief made available thus far, flood victims remain sceptical of the assurance. The affected persons are not are ready to leave the camps and are of the view that nothing is left back home except diseases and lack of edibles items.
Noor Gul, a resident of Jaba Dawazai in Akbar Pura area of Nowshera district, told The Express Tribune that authorities were pushing them to leave their homes, but they have nowhere to return to. “Authorities only provided us with food assistance initially for two to three days and after that they stopped, with government concentrating on sending us back to our homes” he said. School authorities have made it clear that if the relief victims do not opt to leave the school peacefully, then they have other options at their disposal. Sajid, a resident of Sardaryab village of Charsadda district said that the school administration had threatened to throw them out if they did not leave within the stipulated time.
Describing the conditions at the camp, Noor said that the local people were providing food at iftari and sehri timings to flood victims otherwise they would have starved by now, however, the price hike in the city has made this even more difficult. Given such pressure, he said that two families left the camp today while many others have gone to their home towns in the past few days. Gulzar, a resident of Jaba area in Nowshera district, added that about 49 families were left in the camp, while most of the other families had already headed home, since the authorities had asked them to go to their villages in order to get relief assistance.
The situation is further complicated by people trying to swindle the already deprived and grief stricken flood victims. Gul said that three people had come to the school on Tuesday, promising Rs. 8000 for three months in return for a relief card of Rs100 per family. However, the lack of interest shown to them, made them leave for good.
Another relief victim, Amjad, a resident of Akbarpura area said that he had been staying at the camp for the past 13 days. About two bags of flour and five kilograms of ghee provided on Tuesday was the entire relief provided by the authorities, he said. “I have been living here with my six family members and have yet to get a tent. The authorities should give us tents here, instead of sending us to villages where only politically linked people would get the lion’s share of aid,” Amjad added. Sajid was facing similar problems since he has an eight-member family to provide for and no tent for the past 15 days.
After the rented house in which he and his family was living in collapsed, Rehman Gul, a baker by profession and a resident of Babi area in Nowshera district, found himself in an even more difficult situation. He said that although all was not well at the camp, they at least had a roof over their heads. But now with no property of his own, he shares the fears with the other victims of being thrown out on the road.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ