The monsoon season is round the corner, but despite a warning the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has not allocated any funds to deal with floods this year.
An official confirmed that the G-B Disaster Management Authority has no funds to deal with the emergency situation. “Once a flood is triggered by rain, all you can do is minimise loss through quick recovery, but without money you can’t do anything,” the official said.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has already issued a warning to all provincial and regional governments about the likelihood of massive floods during the monsoon season. The meteorological department has predicted 15% more rains this year, prompting the authority to issue the warning.
Ayub Shah, a lawmaker from Ghizer Valley, had also taken up the issue in the G-B Legislative Assembly, asking the government to allocate funds.
G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, when contacted, insisted that the government is “fully prepared” to deal with monsoon floods.
Last year, a large portion of Talus village in Ghanche district of Skardu was swept away by flash floods, destroying more than 80 houses besides standing crops on 400 acres.
In 2010, floods affected one fifth of the country’s population and rendered several hundred thousand homeless from Himalayas in the north to the deserts of Sindh in the south. In G-B alone, over 100 people were killed and the material loss was estimated to be around Rs13 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.
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