Rehabilitation of Neelum flood victims is top priority: Masood

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ATHMUQAM: Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan has said that rehabilitation of the victims of Neelum Valley flash flood is the top priority of the government.

Talking to flood victims in different villages of flood-hit Leswa area of Neelum Valley on Tuesday, he said that Pakistan Army and all the state agencies had timely rushed to the area and promptly provided relief to the people.

The AJK president said that it was top priority of the state government to rehabilitate flood affected people and to provide food and drinking water besides residential accommodation to them on emergency basis.

Sardar Masood Khan said that after 2005 earthquake, this was the gravest tragedy which had caused catastrophe in a ten kilometers area in a single union council.

“The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and Pakistan Red Crescent Society have been put on alert, and they are busy in relief and rescue operations in the area while district administration is engaged in the assessment of losses and the relief activities,” he added.

The AJK president said that relief would be provided to all affected people judiciously and on equality basis and no one would be left deprived in the process.

He said that we should learn from the natural calamities, and evolve strategies on scientific lines to avoid such incidents in future. The government will consider rehabilitating flood victims to some other places to avert such casualties in future.

Earlier, when the AJK president cancelled all his preoccupations in Rawalakot, and reached Leswa, Deputy Commission Neelum Mehmood Shahid, SSP Asif Durrani and Pakistan Army Commander Brig Murtaza gave briefings to him on relief and rescue operations being conducted by Pak Army and the civil administration.

He was told that besides causing loss of 19 human lives, the flood had destroyed three mosques and 150 residential houses in Domilan, Kutha, Leswa Khas, Bari, Bela, Bandi, Upper Bela and Bandi Lower Bela villages.

The AJK president was told that nine local people including five women besides members of tableeghi jamaat had lost their lives while electricity, communication and water supply systems were badly disrupted in the area. Some portions of Leswa bypass road connecting these villages were also destroyed.

Later, the AJK president visited the residence of Shahnawaz Butt to condole the death of his wife, three daughters, and sister in law. He also visited temporary residence of four other victims of the tragedy and expressed condolence over the loss of precious lives.