Life in Ziarat yet to normalise
By Malik Siraj Akbar
ZIARAT: Five children, between nine to twelve years of age, stand in a queue in Zadgai area of Ziarat district to collect tents and two jerry cans from the relief goods sent by the Red Crescent, Kuwait.
10-year-old Dilawar Khan, an earthquake victim, is trying to get the second tent for his family. The first tent was given to his family a month ago, but it was insufficient for the whole family.
Hopes of the earthquake victims are gradually fading away as the fanfare that was seen soon after the earthquake with the arrival of national and international media and international relief organisations is about to diminish now. The people are further appalled as the manoeuvring cameras and English/Arabic speaking relief workers are also returning from Ziarat.
Fate of Rs 2 billion: The fate of Rs 2 billion given to the Balochistan government for the earthquake victims has yet to be determined. Balochistan Minister for Disaster Management Babu Rahim Mengal acknowledges that a lot of assistance had come to Balochistan, but he showed his ignorance as to who was in-charge of the relief operations. He also does not know how the government is going to build new houses in the earthquake-affected areas.
Amid such mismanagement, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior Affairs has also asked the Balochistan government to make public the details of all the funds provided to the province for the earthquake victims.
Headed by Senator Talha Mehmood, the committee fears that the assistance is going to be misused. In the past, a remarkable amount of funds and goods, provided to the Balochistan government for the rehabilitation of the flood victims of Mekran could not reach the deserving people and the flood-affected people are still obliged to live in tents in Turbat.
The Red Crescent Turkey has embarked on the construction of more than hundred container-like homes for the earthquake victims in Wam. But the provincial government’s delaying tactics have annoyed the people. Several people are of the opinion that the distribution of relief goods has been politicised.
“The government is not fairly treating the earthquake victims of Zadgai,” complains 70-year-old Gohar Khan, a citizen, “The earthquake has damaged our homes badly.” He said the registration for compensation of homes was being done on political grounds. While some people are given Rs 300,000 in compensation, many residents of Zadgai have been given Rs 15,000.
Fifty-year-old Noor Bibi, a mother of seven and a resident of Ahmadoon, Kach Union Council, complained that the women, elders and children had been worst affected by the earthquake. Since October 29, she said, life had become more painful for the women and children as mobility had become very difficult for them. The people said that the federal government should directly monitor the distribution of the funds.