The Punjab government will need over Rs124.27 billion for the complete rehabilitation of the flood-affected people of the province and this process may take three years, Punjab Finance Minister Sardar Mohsin Khan Laghari told IMF representative in Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz during a detailed briefing on the flood disaster in Punjab.
The two met on Monday. According to sources, Laghari said that this year’s flood in Punjab was unexpected and completely different from those in the past. “Floods in the past were the result of increased water levels and flows in rivers but this time these were caused due to snow melting in the mountainous areas.” This year, Laghari said that around 85 percent more rains were recorded during the monsoon in the province. Among the affected areas, he informed that the most destruction occurred in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur.
“In Dera Ghazi Khan, 366 villages and 80 union councils were affected, while in Rajanpur, 176 villages and 44 union councils were affected. 191 people lost their lives while 3,858 people were injured. At least 17,953 houses have been destroyed in DG Khan while 34,160 houses in Rajanpur,” said the minister, adding that in both districts education, health, agriculture, roads and communication systems were badly affected.
The IMF representative was informed that the livelihood of most of the flood-affected families in DG Khan and Rajanpur was livestock and agriculture. “In both districts, more than 90 percent of the agricultural land was flooded and unemployment increased due to the death of 205,106 cattle. After the initial estimate, the Punjab government will immediately need Rs2.6 billion rupees to compensate the losses of the affected people. It will be possible with the reduction of development expenses and the funds received from the federation.
According to the preliminary estimate, 121,633.51 million rupees will be required for the repair and rehabilitation of damaged and affected infrastructure in various sectors. The provincial minister further said that the government will need at least two to three years to restore the infrastructure and other damages in the province. Esther Ruiz expressed regret over the large-scale destruction in the province due to the flood, and assured the review of programs and full cooperation. Relief Commissioner Punjab, Finance Secretary and other relevant officers were also present with him on this occasion.
On other hand, the Finance Minister also participated as a special guest in the first Engineering Capstone Expo organized by Pakistan Engineering Council. Addressing the participants of the second and third session of the symposium, he said that the brick-and-mortar buildings did not guarantee the development of a country. “To change the fortunes of the country, investing in manpower is the key to control the problems,” he said, adding that the real responsibility of the country’s development was its manpower and the country will not be developed unless it invested in human beings.