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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his meeting with a high-power World Bank delegation led by its Regional Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser presented a $1.1 billion rescue and rehabilitation plan for the flood affected people in the province.

“Out of 140,914 square kilometre area of the province, the heavy rains/ floods have inundated 15.39 percent or 21,691.7 square km and out of 66,549 populated area [of the province] 18.8 percent or 12,541.6 square kilometres has been submerged,” the CM said and added such a magnitude of the devastation was not only unprecedented but would cost billions of rupees to rehabilitate the people, their agriculture, infrastructure and to create a source of income for the poorest of the poor.

The meeting, which was held at CM House, was attended by WB Senior Operations Officer Ewa Sobczynska, Country Director Najy Benhassine, Operations Manager Gailius J Draugelis, Program Leaders Abedalrazq F Khalil, Tobias Akhtar Haque and Senior Disaster Risk Ahsan Tehsin and others.

The CM was assisted by his cabinet members, Dr Azra Pechuho, Nasir Shah, Zia Abbas Shah, Advisors Manzoor Wassan, Murtaza Wahab, Rasool Bux Chandio, Special Assistant Haris Gazdar, chief secretary Sohail Rajput, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi and concerned provincial secretaries.

At the outset of the meeting, the World Bank South Asian chief Martin said that he has visited Dadu, Jamshoro, and other areas and had never seen such a flood situation and humanitarian crisis. He added that his donor agency [WB] would play its due role to support the provincial government to steer its affected people from the crisis.

Housing Sector: The chief Minister said that the floods have collapsed 1.7 million houses that need to be constructed after dewatering villages and towns. He added that the construction of such a large number of houses would cost at least $500 million.

Shah said that he was trying to return people to their homes before the advent of winter. “The winter would create more problems for the people living in the tents or along the roads,” he said.

The World Bank South Asian chief said that his experts and the concerned officers of the Sindh government sit together and prepare a project along with its cost, time, and technology of construction so that the project could be sent to the bank authorities for approval.

Rehabilitation of Irrigation network: Murad Ali Shah said that the floods and heavy rains have damaged dams/spoil ways and their allied structure, barrage headworks, canal, channels, drains, flood protection buds, building structures, and tube wells and pumps. He added that according to the initial assessment the rehabilitation of the irrigation network would cost around Rs94.7 billion.

Murad Ali Shah urged the World Bank to reappropriate or provide at least $250 million so that the Irrigation network could be repaired, otherwise not only agro-economy would suffer but the people engaged in the agriculture sector would collapse.

The World Bank chief asked the chief minister to submit the proposal for their approval.

Water Supply & Drainage: Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told the visiting donor agency’s south Asian head that 23 districts have been affected. The heavy rains/floods have destroyed water and draining systems in big and small-town and villages. The repair and rehabilitation of the water supply and drainage schemes would cost around $100 million.

Shah said that he wanted to start work on the water supply and drainage schemes as soon as the water was pumped out of the town and villages.

The World Bank chief told the chief minister to submit a working paper for consideration. At this, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi said that the papers were ready, and he would submit them.

Municipal Roads: The Chief Minister said that the heavy rains have destroyed municipal roads in 102 talukas and 5727 dehs – which means the entire network known as municipal roads has completely collapsed. He added that he has visited all the affected areas and witnessed the roads were no more motorable.

Shah said that at least $100 million would be required to reconstruct Municipal roads.

The World Bank team suggested the submission of the details of the roads so that the project could be considered and approved.

The meeting decided that the chief minister and World Bank Country director would keep review meetings on the schemes discussed here on Saturday every week so that they could be materialised for the benefit and rehabilitation of the affected people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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