Encroachment and poor town planning led to the damage caused by flash floods in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). This was said by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Major General Muhammad Saeed Aleem during a briefing arranged by Azad Jammu and Kashmir State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), where secretaries, commissioners, deputy commissioners, senior military officials and representatives of NGOs were present.
Noting that people had built houses in the middle of Gojra and Tariqabad stream, he criticised the Muzaffarabad Development Authority for allowing this to happen. “It is the duty of the district administration to keep checks on dangerous constructions around streams and landslide prone areas”, he said.
Saeed noted that district governments all over the country need to be prepared for heavy rains forecast in the middle of June. He urged local communities to involve themselves with rehabilitation efforts and advised them to plant trees as a permanent solution to the problems posed by land sliding and flash floods.
AJK SDMA Secretary Farhat Ali Mir briefed the NDMA chairman about the arrangements they have made to handle the flood situation in the coming monsoon season.
He said that AJK deputy commissioners have been given full authority to help flood victims in their districts.
The AJK Finance Department has been asked to release Rs200,000 to each deputy commissioner to aid relief efforts.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2014.
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