Some solace for flood-hit Chitralis

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday announced Rs 500 million aid package for the flood affected people in Chitral during a visit of the region where some 300,000 people have been affected by flash floods caused by torrential rains in the region.

The prime minister also announced that since Chitral has been declared as calamity-hit by the provincial government therefore Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) loans stood waived off.

The premier took an aerial view of the flood-affected areas, making it the first visit of any prime minister to the area in 16 years.

Sharif was greeted by a large sloganeering crown on his arrival at Chitral’s Kuragh area. He announced that the Lowari tunnel will be completed before December 2016, and said that Rs 3 billion have been allocated for the project this year. More required funds will be allocated on need basis, he added.

Sharif also directed for opening of more branches of utility stores to ensure continuous supply of food items to people of Chitral.

The prime minister had earlier instructed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to reinforce relief and rescue efforts which are underway in various parts of the country. The premier could not undertake a planned visit to the region on Tuesday due to poor weather in Lahore.

In the past week, at least six people died in Azad Jammu and Kashmir as flash floods triggered by torrential rain inundated large swathes in the country. At least three were reported dead due to heavy rains in Rawalpindi.

FLOOD SITUATION:

The Indus River is in medium flood at Kalabagh, Chashma and Taunsa, and in low flood at Tarbela, Guddu and Sukkur.

The Flood Forecasting Division of the Lahore Meteorological Department on Wednesday said that the water flow in the Indus River was 406,207 cusecs at Kalabagh, 462,100 cusecs at Chashma and 459,730 cusecs in Taunsa

According to the Flood Forecasting Division, River Kabul is still in medium flood at Nowshera. All other rivers and nullahs are flowing normally.

Peshawar’s Flood Warning Center said the Indus River at Attock and the Kabul River at Nowshera are in medium flood.

The River Indus at Tarbela, River Kabul at Warsak, River Panjkora at Dir, River Khiali at Charsadda Road, River Adezai at Adezai Bridge and River Shah Alam at Takhtabad are in low flood, while the rest of the rivers in the province are flowing normally.

A Pakistan Air Force C-130 has been dispatched to Chitral carrying family food packs as part of relief efforts ongoing in the region.

“Army engineers have repaired Drosh and Brooz bridges which link Chitral’s main road N-45 to the rest of the country,” said a statement from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

In Punjab, Pakistan Army troops have reached villages near Dera Ghazi Khan and have started rescue and relief efforts.