ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Coping with a natural calamity or disaster has always remained a difficult task in terms of provision of prompt relief to the victims to compensate them for their damages either physical or economical.
However, the present government despite the enormous economic challenges being faced by the country, has allocated a huge budget of Rs 70 billion to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the flood’s devastation.
Soon after the flood hits the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a relief package of Rs. 28 billion which was later increased to Rs. 70 billion keeping in view of gross damages of lives, infrastructure, and crops in the wake of the flash floods.
The task of disbursing Flood Relief Cash Assistance among the flood-hit people was assigned to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) by the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif which is being carrying out through a transparent manner and is near completion.
Through speedy disbursement of over 66 billion rupees (66,052,075,000) among around 2,642,083 million flood affected families across the country till October 18, the BISP has proved to be the most effective and reliable social protection intervention in this history of the country.
In Balochistan, 209,051 flood affected families have received Rs. 5,226,275,000 while 1,810,129 affected families in Sindh have received Rs 45,253,225,000.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 299,725 families have received Rs. 7,493,125,000 whereas 322,717 families in Punjab were paid Rs 8,067,925,000. In Gilgit Baltistan, 461 flood- affected families have received Rs. 11,525,000.
The BISP rolled out its operations in the flood affected areas within no time under the leadership of Federal Minister of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and Chairperson BISP, Shazia Marri and presently the flood relief activities are operational through different payment sites.
“My name is Subhan and I live in Shikarpur. The area got flooded and our houses got destroyed. My house was already destroyed and my younger son died in floods. We are now living in Allahabad Colony Camp”, a flood victim told APP. “It’s a big relief for us as we got Benazir’s Rs 25,000 assistance. We will buy ration for children through it”, she said.
Husna Khatoon from Rahuja village said, “I have five sons and four daughters. My house is destroyed due to flood”. “My husband is old. He is our sole bread winner. I am poor and I have no one to earn. I have received Rs. 25,000 from BISP through which I will buy ration for my children”, she said.
Azra Bibi from Qambary, Swabi said, “My husband is a factory worker. I have seven children, four sons and three daughters. My house is made of mud so rain is a big problem and whenever it rains, water gets inside our house. Now my house has been destroyed due to the rains”
“I got a message from BISP to come and collect flood relief money from their center. I borrowed some money for commute and reached BISP Center where they checked my CNIC and got my biometric. After all the clearance, they gave me the flood relief money of Rs. 25,000. With this money, we will fulfill our basic needs as we don’t have the groceries at home. I thank Benazir programme with all my heart”, she said.
Razzaq Mehmood, Deputy Director BISP who is supervising the cash disbursement process at Flood Relief Camp set up in Government Boys School, Taunsa Sharif said the camp has been established on the directions of Chairperson BISP, Shazia Marri to disburse Rs. 25,000 among the flood affected families. He said that the payment process is going on smoothly and the staff is vigilantly extending all possible support and guidance to the visitors.
Irfana, mother of two children visited the same camp for receiving her payment said, “My husband is a piece rate worker. The recent flood has completely destroyed our house and we have nothing to survive”. She thanked the government and BISP for providing cash assistance of Rs 25,000 through which she intends to buy ration to feed her family.
Amina Bibi from Sukkur said, “My house is made of mud and has been destroyed due to the floods like other houses in the surroundings. My husband is suffering from illness. I thank BISP for providing Rs. 25,000 much-needed cash relief which I would spend on buying medicine of my husband and ration”.
All the payment centers are kept open on holidays for the disbursement of payment to the affectees. The administration of BISP has directed the concerned staff present at the campsites to fully cooperate and facilitate the people in their respective regions. A control room has also been established at BISP headquarters to ensure smooth payments.
It is also worth mentioning that Federal Minister Shazia Marri has announced that the flood affected pregnant mothers and children will be covered under the Benazir Nashonuma Programme in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP). For this purpose, an additional amount of one billion rupees would be allocated for the flood affected mothers and children apart from the existing beneficiaries.