Newspaper Articles

An appeal from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – by Zubair Torwali

Flooding in Swat: BBC

The situation in upper Swat, Swat Kohistan (Bahrain, Mankiyal, Kalam, Utror) is alarming as the people have now run out of food and medicine but the mainstream media in Pakistan takes it granted whosoever tells them that that much ration has been distributed in the area. This behavior is misleading and devastating as looking at that the humanitarian agencies would let loose their activities in the area and consequently abandon the people.

The narrow valley of Swat Kohistan has cut off into two mountain ranges leaving no bridge intact. The poor people are now at the mercy of the state of pakistan and its powerful institutions.

They are virtually living in a Stone Age. The floods have pushed the already backward area to 1900.

Kindly do focus this area and is people so as to avoid a human tragedy.

To donate to Pakistan flood relief:
Edhi Foundation
UNHCR

Mobile Donations

For those who want to donate to the relief effort, a simple text message pledges either $5 or $10. To donate:

For Central Asia Institute, text the word CAI to 50555 to give $10. Central Asia Institute provides community-based education opportunities in Pakistan & Afghanistan.

For CHF International, text the word PAKISTAN to 50555 to give $5. CHF International will provide transitional shelter, create livelihoods, and ultimately re-build Pakistan’s economic and social foundations.

For Islamic Society of North America, text the word RELIEF to 27722 to give $10. The Islamic Society of North America contributes to the betterment of the Muslim community and society at large.

For UNHCR, text the word SWAT to 50555 to give $10. UNHCR emergency response teams are distributing tents, relief supplies, and humanitarian assistance to people displaced by the flooding.

For World Food Programme USA, text the word AID to 27722 to give $10. WFP will use helicopters to transport food to people in isolated communities across the Swat Valley.

For World Emergency Relief, text the word RESCUE to 50555 to give $10. Rescue Task Force is a San Diego County based non-profit relief agency that responds to natural and man-made disasters world-wide.

For Zakat Foundation of America, text the work ZAKATUS to 50555 to give $10. Zakat Foundation has begun to address the immediate needs of flood survivors by providing food and clothing in four key Pakistani districts.

A diary of the floods in Pakistan’s Swat Valley (Source BBC):
Many residents in the Swat Valley were still recovering from last year’s bloody conflict with the Taliban when disaster struck again.

Torrential monsoons hit Pakistan at the end of July, causing devastating floods.

Thousands of homes have been destroyed and the entire Swat Valley was cut off at the weekend with even helicopters unable to reach the people left homeless.

Newly-married reporter Adnan Rashid lives in Mingora, a city in one of Pakistan’s worst affected areas. For Outlook he has been keeping an audio diary describing the impact of the flood waters on his and his neighbours’ lives.

Adnan’s own father witnessed one of the vital road bridges being washed away. He describes seeing precious goods, like washing machines and fridges full of food floating away.

He tells Matthew Bannister about his own observations and how he and his new bride feel about the future.

Listen to Adnan’s audio diary and interview with Matthew Bannister

About the author

Laila Ebadi

6 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • That’s how Prime Minister “Helps”

    Kalabagh Dam may have caused more damage: Hoti
    Thursday August 12, 2010 (1021 PST) http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?230492

    MANSEHRA: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti Wednesday said that had Kalabagh Dam been built it might have caused 10 times more damages than the current losses due to floods.
    He was talking to the flood-affected people in Battagram and Pattan tehsil of Kohistan district. Senior ministers Bashir Ahmad Bilour, Rahimdad Khan and Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain were also accompanying him.

    Hoti said that instead criticising federal and provincial governments, the opposition parties should extend support to the government to cope with such a large-scale devastation caused by the flash floods. “The ruling and opposition parties should unite and show national spirit and patriotism to cope with the tragedy as the government alone cannot cope with the devastation,” the chief minister said. He added that reopening of the Karakoram Highway and restoration of electricity supply infrastructure in Kohistan was top priority of government.

    He said criticising the government was easy but serving the humanity selflessly within limited resources was an uphill task and the government was making all-out efforts to serve the flood victims. Hoti said the compensation amount to the families of flood victims and injured would be paid soon. He said the stranded people in the province would not be left at the mercy of weather. “We are working on war footing to open the blocked roads and supply the food by helicopter service,” he said. The flood affectees apprised the chief minister of their miseries caused by continued blockade of the Karakoram Highway. They said there was severe shortage of food and stranded people were still at the mercy of the inclement weather. They asked the chief minister to order immediate reopening of the KKH.

    PM’s statement on Kalabagh dam irks KP govt By Nisar Mahmood Wednesday, August 11, 2010
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=255951

    PESHAWAR: Reacting to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s statement on Kalabagh dam, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said on Tuesday it amounted to rubbing salt onto the wounds of people of the province who had been devastated by floods. “The prime minister said on Monday that floods would not have caused such a large-scale destruction had Kalabagh dam been built, but he does not know that the devastation would be manifold not only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also some parts of the Punjab in case the controversial dam was built,” argued Mian Iftikhar while briefing the media. The minister said despite the fact that Kalabagh dam is now a dead issue, the prime minister tried to calm down the angry flood-affectees in Punjab by giving such a statement. “The prime minister and federal government should provide relief to the affectees of all provinces on the basis of loss assessment instead of political point-scoring at such a critical time when millions of people had been affected and hundreds of thousands rendered homeless, he added. Mian Iftikhar said the prime minister’s statement had created an impression as if Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was not part of the country where floods had caused massive devastation and the federal government was yet to provide any relief to the affectees.

    “Just opening of one spillway in Tarbela Dam swept back the water of River Kabul and caused water level rises in Nowshera. What would be the situation if there was a dam like Kalabagh?” he asked and added the project was not only harmful to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also many areas in the Punjab like Chakwal, Mianwali and Shadi Khan. Regarding federal government’s lukewarm response to the destruction in the province, he said: “We are equally worried about the destruction in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and want relief for all the affected people, but it should be kept in mind that the destruction in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 95 per cent of the total destruction.” The minister expressed concern over the failure of the prime minister, president and other federal government functionaries to visit the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and announce relief for the affectees. He said the denial of relief could not be justified by stating that the province had been given money under the NFC Award. He said it was the federal government’s duty to seek foreign aid and donations from comity of nations. The minister said the province also had the right to be provided a special grant in case of disasters and natural calamities as no amount was allocated to the province under NFC Award under this head. He said the provincial government stood by the people and it shared public grievances against the federal government for its apathy. Mian Iftikhar asked the federal government to take the devastation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seriously and release grant for the relief and rehabilitation activities without any delay as the dwellers of this province were citizens of this country and had the right to its resources.

    Kalabagh Dam may have caused more damage: Hoti Thursday, August 12, 2010 Our correspondent http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=256192

    MANSEHRA: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti Wednesday said that had Kalabagh Dam been built it might have caused 10 times more damages than the current losses due to floods. He was talking to the flood-affected people in Battagram and Pattan tehsil of Kohistan district. Senior ministers Bashir Ahmad Bilour, Rahimdad Khan and Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain were also accompanying him. Hoti said that instead criticising federal and provincial governments, the opposition parties should extend support to the government to cope with such a large-scale devastation caused by the flash floods.

    “The ruling and opposition parties should unite and show national spirit and patriotism to cope with the tragedy as the government alone cannot cope with the devastation,” the chief minister said. He added that reopening of the Karakoram Highway and restoration of electricity supply infrastructure in Kohistan was top priority of government. He said criticising the government was easy but serving the humanity selflessly within limited resources was an uphill task and the government was making all-out efforts to serve the flood victims. Hoti said the compensation amount to the families of flood victims and injured would be paid soon. He said the stranded people in the province would not be left at the mercy of weather. “We are working on war footing to open the blocked roads and supply the food by helicopter service,” he said. The flood affectees apprised the chief minister of their miseries caused by continued blockade of the Karakoram Highway. They said there was severe shortage of food and stranded people were still at the mercy of the inclement weather. They asked the chief minister to order immediate reopening of the KKH.

  • SECOND EDITORIAL: Kalabagh Dam: RIP Thursday, August 12, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20108\12\story_12-8-2010_pg3_1

    Pakistan has seen one of the worst floods ever in its history but instead of focusing on the issue at hand, our leaders are making matters worse by digging up skeletons like the Kalabagh Dam (KBD) issue. Prime Minister Gilani recently said that the deaths and destruction caused by the floods could have been averted had the KBD been built but he also admitted that “the issue of KBD should not be raised now” as the nation is passing through critical times. It was gracious of Mr Gilani not to raise the ‘KBD issue’ by actually raising it. One wonders why some leaders have come out with pro-KBD statements days after the massive floods hit the country. Have they no consideration for the sentiments of the other three provinces, which have passed several resolutions in their respective provincial assemblies against the dam, especially in this time of high crisis?

    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain called the KBD project “a dead horse” and said that it goes against the “interests of the country”. Mr Hussain’s most chilling words, “Is there no Pakistan on this side of Attock?” amply demonstrate the insensitivity on this issue towards the three dissenting provinces. Sindh’s politicians and technocrats have also dismissed the project. Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palejo said that had the KBD been built, “the whole Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would have been destroyed”. Now these are serious statements emanating from both within the PPP and its coalition partners. If not for the sentiments of the three smaller provinces, the advocates of the dam should at least have a look at its technical aspects before claiming that it could have saved the lives of the flood victims. According to experts, around 30 million acre feet (MAF) of water reached downstream Kotri during these floods and the KBD “would have stored only six MAF of water”. This raises serious doubts about the feasibility of building a dam that would not only be of little help in such catastrophes but is also a major bone of contention amongst the provinces.

    Why can the government not concentrate on the huge task of rescue, rehabilitation and reconstruction instead of harping on about the KBD, which has possibly passed beyond the pale of possibility? We do not need any more diversions and should instead focus on the relief and rehabilitation work. The well-being of the country demands that we let the KBD issue rest once and for all. *

    KBD would have caused more flooding: expert Thursday, August 12, 2010
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20108\12\story_12-8-2010_pg7_2

    * Former IRSA chief says dam is not a flood-control project

    * ANP says dam would have done immense harm to KP, Sindh

    By Iqbal Khattak

    PESHAWAR: The Kalabagh Dam – had it been built – would have caused flooding rather than averting it, a former chairman of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) said on Wednesday, while responding to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s recent statement about the dam. “The dam’s effect on floods would have been contrary to what the prime minister claimed,” said Fatehullah Khan Gandapur, who headed IRSA from 1993 to 1998.

    The KP leadership has criticised the PM’s statement, and Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain termed the project “a dead horse”. “Kalabagh dam is not a flood-control project,” Gandapur said while talking to Daily Times on Wednesday. “It is a run-of-the-river project and its design has to be changed if we want to make it a flood-control project,” he said. Gandapur said the dam’s construction would have caused reverse flow in the Kabul River, submerging Nowshera district and water-logging the entire Peshawar valley. “Consultants have called the dam’s design a failure,” he said.

    The Awami National Party is in no mood to compromise on its position over the dam. “Their (pro-dam elements) philosophy is to let the whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa drown,” senior ANP leader Senator Haji Adeel said. “Why doesn’t Islamabad look at other feasible projects instead of only eyeing the Kalabagh Dam, which aims to destroy two provinces?” he asked. “There are other projects that, if undertaken, will help you avoid flood and destruction,” he said. “Had the Kalabagh Dam been built, it would have sunk Akora Khattak and Jehangira towns in Nowshera district and its effects would also have been felt in Pabbi town,” Adeel said. “Why don’t you build dams from where the water is coming?” he asked, adding that Basha Dam would be able to store 800,000 cusecs and Munda Dam 300,000 cusecs of water.

  • The province of Khyber Pahktoonkwa has been the worst hit by the recent floods. The British government has announced over 6 million pounds for relief operations. It is pertinent that the funds are distributed in a transparent manner so that the donors are encouraged to donate more this Nobel cause

  • The devastating floods in KP have destroyed infrastructure and livelihoods of many people. The recovery will be a slow and a painful road. But with help from international allies, we can make it.

  • http://tribune.com.pk/story/38851/sos-call-from-upper-swat-residents/

    SOS Call from Upper Swat

    PESHAWAR: Around 200,000 people of Upper Swat are on the brink of starvation as the area’s road links with the rest of the district and country could not be restored even after two weeks, a resident said.
    Villagers have almost run out of supplies and the aid reaching the valley is not sufficient enough to sustain them any longer, said residents said the area, which is also known as Swat Kohistan.
    Zubair Torwali, a resident of Bahrain told The Express Tribune from Mingora that the area has run out of food and other supplies due to the lack of access and most of the population is stranded in the valley.
    Torwali pointed out that there were seven tributaries of River Swat in Upper Swat including Daral, Owran, Keedam, Mankyal, Oshu and Odhrur and following the rains, these rivulets washed away several villages, bridges, roads and hotels and also swelled the river, which caused widespread destruction in downstream areas.
    Zubair said that the valley was around 50 kilometres long and the road that ran through it was completely destroyed by the swollen river and the 31 bridges connecting its eastern and western portions were also destroyed.
    Residents have to travel for around 40 kilometres over mountain trails to reach Fatehpur just to fetch the aid provided by the government, he said. He said that it takes them at least two days to travel and take back the aid items to their villages.
    He said that locals were trying to build a road on self-help basis, while skin and water borne diseases were also spreading in the area. Four children died in a diarrhea outbreak recently. Electricity supply had also been suspended as the Bahrain grid station was destroyed in the floods.
    He said that timber worth billions of rupees had been washed downstream by the river and locals in the lower region had taken control of it. He asked the authorities to take the timber in their control and sell it and pass on the proceeds to its rightful owners.
    The area economy depended on cash crops of vegetables, which has been destroyed now, while majority of the hotels in the area have also been washed away and the area economy is in ruins, Zubair added.
    Haji Zameen, former nazim of Bahrain union council, said that the situation was critical and the area needed rations immediately. He said though the Chinook helicopters were engaged in the evacuation of tourists they could not land in the area and supplies through small helicopters were not sufficient for huge populations.
    Army officials have told them that they have purchased around 80 mules and that work on the mule track in the area was to start soon, he said.
    He added that floods had destroyed all water supply schemes and due to which most areas had no water supply and also lacked health facilities. He said that shops had run out of supplies and residents were facing great troubles.
    Survival is the biggest issue for the area people, according to Khan Saeed, former nazim of Mankyal UC. “Food is not available in the area,” Saeed pointed out, adding that shops have run out of supplies and people are solely dependent on relief items.
    Locals were working on building roads; but it was unlikely that they would be able to keep pace during Ramazan, Khan said.
    He proposed that the government and aid agencies should make camps for the people in lower Swat, as it needed to supply food to a huge population in the absence of communication links. The relief efforts should have been on a war footing, but so far they have been abysmally slow, Khan added.

  • I m Akhtar form Peshawar city , Class-4 servant (peon) in nursing examination Board Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar. I am poor person. I am looking for help for my disable daughter namely “Miss Alsa” she is fully disable (mentally and physically) she 8 years old, and want other people like that. Sincere persons can contact with me. Every person of any nationality can be help. Cell 0092 300 5947368. akhtar123123@yahoo.com I will be waiting for the reply. If you know any NGO or more any Department which is related with. I had appeal in 4 daily news Paper namely: –
    1. Daily news paper “Express” on 23/10/2010,
    2. Daily news paper “AAJ” on 24/10/2010,
    3. Daily News Paper “Jarga” on 24/10/2010(Pashto)
    4. Daily News Paper “Mashiriq” on 25/10/2010
    but no response form our Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,
    Looking for +
    Akhtar Said, Khalid Bin Walid Colony, Ring Raod, Near Yousafabad, Dalazak Road, Peshawar City. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Cell 03005947368
    Office Tel: 091-9217449 Fax. 9217815