REBUILD PLAN FOR THE FLOOD AFFECTED AREA AND REHABILATION OF THE PEOPLE

BY: ADMIRAL IFTIKHAR AHMED  SIROHEY (RETD).  

Editor’s Note: Pakistan is not only in need of monetary and relief goods aid, but we must also request help in terms of Expertise from countriesaround the world. The magnanimity of destruction is beyond the scope of the government, any government of a developing nation. Teams of Experts in Reconstruction from other countries must be constituted for different areas and they must be awarded responsibility to do the job. This is the only way, we can restructure what has been lost and in given allotted time. Failure to do this will only multiply the miseries of the people and have worse impact on Pakistan’s Economy than what already exists.

REBUILD PLAN FOR THE FLOOD AFFECTED AREA AND REHABILATION OF THE  PEOPLE:

Floods rage across Pakistan, destroying everything in it’s wake, life, property, crops. The earthquake’s that have hit Pakistan in 2005 and 2008 were regarded as the worst tragedy for the nation. The administration seems to be crippled in face of the huge tragedy and work cut out for them.

The flood damage is so huge that it can not be handled by Pakistan in a measurable time frame on its own. It neither has technical means nor know how nor the financial capacity to reinstate the infrastructure built over last 60 years.  An innovative and courageous approach is called for.

It has to be done by the people themselves. There shall not be enough support from the world community. We shall have to find own means and resources.

Following steps are proposed these should be taken in parallel:

1-Obtain an aerial map of the total flood affected area. Show it in colour. On another map show the rivers and riverines flow in a normal monsoon to discern the differential. Procure mapped record of previous floods since the major one of 1929.

2-Mark boundaries of the area at the peak level of this year’s flood. Show boundaries of the provinces, of each district and its Tehseels.

3-As soon as appropriate the affected with families return to the sites of their abodes. They should be helped with whatever means possible from the nearest area to have a temporary overhead cover. Food for six months and other essentials to survive also be provided to them. Agriculturist to be provided all inputs to grow the earliest possible crop. It is vital for survival, peace and security.

4-Each affected mark his house himself as it existed before the calamity.  Prepare the list of major items including cattle and agriculture or other means of his earning that he had and what is left. This information should be certified by the two neighbours at site. It should be accepted as authentic and final. No revenue or bureaucratic intervention should be necessary. The aim should be to return them to their pre flood abode and comfort as far as possible. Medical comfort should be provided by mobile system till permanent facilities are set up.

5-The affected himself prepare the financial need to rebuild that minimum size home and other assets that existed before the flood. An estimated amount for the smallest house/hut be predetermined. That amount should be paid there and then. The support for his other need also be sought from him. If possible paid to him there also. The Idea is to serve him there. He should not be chasing for the support and further demeaned.

6-The houses and other losses in access of the minimum size should also are worked out by the affected. The minimum facility house paid for should also be paid to these affectees.  Amount in access thereof should be given as a loan without interest to be returned in 15 years.

7-Considering the losses from north to south affecting every province by the flood the number of affected could be close to 30m. With an average family of 6 the housing units of all sizes will be 6m. A compensation of Rs100, 000 at the minimum will be Rs 6bn. In most cases there will total loss of houses. There may some repairable. That adjudication should be done there in presence of local people. The  amount needed for this purpose should be diverted from the development budgets of the provinces and augmented by the centre. The compensation promised for those who died and injured by various Leaders will have to be added for the families concerned.

8-The financial requirement determined above should be given to each district. I am making the ensuing recommendation with shame. It is to save nation from feud, loot, plunder and robbery that it has been subjected to. Request top ten declared most honest countries to provide personnel for each district upto Tehseel level to disburse the amount to the people. Officers from the Armed forces and a known honest person of the area should witness the disbursement. It should take no more than one month. A large number of teams will be needed for this task. The detail should be worked out immediately. Politicians and bureaucracy should only be in support of these teams.

9-While the individuals being such compensated we should looking at the infrastructure for its repair and rebuilding. It should be dealt type wise rail, road, river and building. Aim here also should be to reinstate the system to pre flood position.

10-The destruction of the infrastructure should be displayed on a map for each facility accurately. Cost of replacement estimated and published inviting help with heavy equipment needed in each field. In this case also the financial aspect should be controlled by those who offer to rebuild any area or facility. They should keep and disburse the funds themselves. We should support them for provision of what they ask for, to do the job. Maximum local man power should be engaged.  Maximum local facilities be utilized to the needs in rebuilding the infrastructure.  This time the fury of flood be kept in view.

11-We have been a basket case for the international community for some time. Therefore donor fatigue syndrome should expected. In addition there are many other catastrophes that this planet has been subjected to during this decade. Our country has been devastated by having been on the front line fighting a war that was not ours. Therefore what every support is provided should be used judicially and honestly.  Most of the funding has however to be raised locally. We may look at our strength and resources:

a) Our most valuable asset is the people. 180 million of them. 80 million are fourteen and under.   About 90 m are 15 to 64 age group. This strength needs to be mobilised to face this challenge.  All those not employed productively should be engaged in the reconstruction effort. They should be paid well and as far as possible should work in the vicinity of their homes. They should be given the task of their choice to suit their mental and physical capabilities. To manage and accomplish what has been proposed will need a very strong IT network at district HQ –down- laterally and upward to the provincial Headquarters from there to the Center. Physical movement and for photo should be minimum. Maximum  work should be done online and saved on the computer, activity wise. There should least paper work. There should be no need of physical meetings. Discuss issues online. The HQs mentioned should be manned round the clock by competent staff to give decision when sought for. The PM/CM should get daily briefing fro the respective HQs. This system and organisation can  be set by the Armed Forces.

b) The funding required to rebuild lives and mean to live is  monumental. The call by UN for immediate assistance of $459m shows how little is the realization of the colossal damage suffered by Pakistan. There appears insensitivity of our predicament by the world. It may change after true picture is understood and other cause of inhibition is removed.

c)Our GDP is about $165bn. Per capita income is $1027. The middle class was about 36% in 2001 it has been gradually reducing. The people below poverty line are near 40%. It is clear that there is inequitable distribution of wealth in the country. Therefore the rich will now have the opportunity to distribute this hoarded wealth to earn the good feelings from the people here and reward in hereafter. If it is not done quickly it will be taken a way. That will be dangerous and consequences dreadful.

d)Reduce the sizes of cabinets to pre 71 levels. PM’s staff and privileges should also revert to same period. It will set an example. Disallow all discretionary powers of all. Stop distributing wealth collected from the poorest of the poor as has been criminally done. Minimise bureaucracy hence the government to the essential. Promoting and expansion of the establishment be undone. Personnel more than required make the system inefficient. As it is at the present. Competent and honest people are needed at every position. Superannuated officials should be replaced by competent personnel if efficiency is required. Merit must prevail.

e) Land holdings of more than 12 and 1/2 must be taxed outside the flood affected area at a sliding rate from more than 12 ½ 50 acre @ Rs5,000/ an acre, Rs 10,000/ unto 100 acre thereafter @ of Rs 20,000/ per acre.

f) Cattle from non affected area be taxed @ Rs 1000/ per buffalo/cow.

g) Housing and commercial properties located in non affected area in all cities should pay 50% of last assessed Property tax on houses commercial buildings.

h) Tax on all vacant and under construction residential plots of more than 200 sq yd be charged @y Rs 50/ per sq yd and commercial plot above 100 sq yds, @ Rs 1000/ per sq yd.

i) Term deposits in Banks & saving schemes of all types be taxed @ 3% for 1 year (or over) all deposits, 2% for six months old deposits. A single deposit less than Rs 50,000/ be exempt.

j) All business and industries in private and public sectors should pay @2% on company’s paid up capital plus reserve & accumulated profits. Banks and & Financial Institution shall 1% tax. It should be based on last Audit Report.

k) Every car owner of more than 1300cc to pay one time tax of Rs 5,000/ upto 2000cc. Cars upto 3000cc pays Rs 20,000. All luxury cars pay Rs50,000/ each. Cars and wagons plying without registration should be charged Rs 500,000/ and then registered.

l) Those who had their loans written off or defaulted, time for their reckoning is now. They should voluntarily return that money of the people or coercion should be resorted. The list has already been published it should now be widely circulated.  Let the people themselves decide.

m) The funds thus collected and that what may be available from the world donors must be saved from the government FBR. This should also be controlled and managed by foreign experts. It should be declared as the policy.  It will remove the inhibitions due our honesty rating.

n) The above measure estimated to generate rupee on trillion. What returned from the written off loans will be additional.

o)The above is not all inclusive there could be many other areas that could be added to the list. Effort has been made to burden the poor the least. No tax should made for perpetuity like many still continue.

12- The building of the infrastructure has also to be prioritised. As much as possible it should be done in parallel. The most important requirement is the restoration of communication to connect people. Concentrate on that aspect at the earliest. The second is restoration of irrigation system. It is the life support for the people and the country It was already in a poor state of maintenance. It must now be in an unworkable state and will also have affect in the non flood affected area. A separate Task Force should be created to restore the gigantic network. It should start from the minor to major channels. The restoring the banks of canals, tributaries should be the first priority. As our experts have not even been able to maintain it therefore we should seek help from those who built it. There is a vast capacity with the farmers to accomplish the task. If they are paid honestly. In the process the unauthorised and illegal use of water by the powerful and the influential would be eliminated.

13-The quantum of rain and water that entered Pakistan from all quarters should be calculated on every day bases. Its route marked showing all tributaries with estimate of its contribution. Follow through all the barrages with the quantum of flow at each. It should cover from day the deluge started till it enters the sea and flow returns to normal.

14-During the period a number embankments were breached intentionally and some breaches took place due to water pressure. A thorough study of these breaches and affects thereby should be worked out. It has been reported that some influentials had the breaches made to save their properties. It has also been reported that no maintenance of dykes had been carried out since these were raised. All these eventst must be enquired about. Further a number of gates of the barrages were not operational despite warning aplenty. These issues are to be investigated and some exemplary justice be dispensed with.

15- This generation has suffered apparently because appropriate measures were not taken following 1929 flood.  What was done or planned after that flood must have been recorded. It is unthinkable that it would not have been done by the colonial rulers at that time. That should be traced. The British library should help. It could provide useful guidance. There is a possibility that the records of the floods since the creation of the country would also be available. These should be studied and compared what happened in 2010.  It should be ensured that record of this flood is carefully collated from all sources and preserved for posterity.

16- Deduced from the records above a 3D computer model be made. From the model and the contours of the country a plan should be prepared to plan building of dams and dykes to save our future generation from such a calamity.

17- It  is only an outline based on my knowledge and experience of the floods in 1947 and in the 50s and what I observed in the present tragedy. It is a huge task. If feuding, looting, plundering and robbing the country stop the people of this country can display unimaginable achievements.

While thinking of participating in the rehabilitation of the devastated parts of our country just thank Allah that He spared us. We could have been there and became destitute. About 1/6 of our brother and sisters have been affected. 5/6th should be able to take care of them. We should take the warning very seriously seek Allah’s forgiveness and help your people and the country.

(The writer was Chief of the Naval Staff , Pakistan as well as Chairman JCSC ).

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Comments

  • Khawar  On August 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Who will do all this ? Not Pakistanis ?

  • Inam Khan  On August 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Plz remember that earth warming is on rise and we may not have seen
    the last of these likely repititive flooding.Our new structures should
    cater for water scouring.

  • Inam Khan  On August 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Plz remember that earth warming is on the rise.These floods could be repetitive.We may not have seen the last of these.Buildings built anew should cater for water scouring as Japanese made their buildings earth quake resistant after suffering earth quakes.

    • Nasim Hassan  On August 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      First priority should be given to flood control and management. For this to happen, Pakistan must build a number of water reservoirs like Kala Bagh Dam. There must be ecological and environmental reasons for floods of such magnitude.

      This must be studied in detail and experts from all around should be consulted. My basic concern would be the possible floods for next five,ten or twenty years, melting of the glaciers in Karakurram and Himalayan mountains.

      If the global warming and consequent melting is the cause for rains and floods then there is no use in rebuilding of roads and bridges that may be washed away again in few years.

      So first build the water reservoirs and then build network of canals to the areas where there is a water shortage. After that work is started then start rebuilding the bridges, roads, and houses.

      I have seen the response of Pakistani community in the USA. I have to admit that level of empathy and concern does not match with the earthquake relief efforts. This may be called donor fatigue.

      My concern is that if flood control measures are not undertaken with national consensus then next time around only a few die hard people will come out to help.

      My appeal to the civil society in Pakistan is to force the government take measures in the area of flood control.

  • Shahbaz  On August 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Very good suggestions.

  • Saeed Piracha  On August 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Dear Admiral Sirohey,
    With due respects Sir, you state:3-As soon as appropriate the affected with families return to the sites of their abodes. They should be helped with whatever means possible from the nearest area to have a temporary overhead cover. Food for six months and other essentials to survive also be provided to them. Agriculturist to be provided all inputs to grow the earliest possible crop. It is vital for survival, peace and security.
    WHO WILL DO THIS?
    The Neighbors? Or are as devastated as themselves?
    The Govt who has neither the will nor the honesty to do the job?

  • Raheel Dogar  On August 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I completely agree with point (m). I also support Editor’s Note in which states that expertise from other nations must be sought and teams constituted to restructure different areas.
    But Sir,you are aware that the world reaction has been tepid at best, putting Pakistan in a worse spot suits many a vested interests, why ease the pressure by writing off loans?

  • Mumtaz Paracha  On August 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Relief work will itself take months to complete at a phenomenal cost. Rehabilitation or rebuilding can start only after the relief work is completed. After 5 years, we are still short of rebuilding Azad Kashmir after the earthquake. Current floods are many times more disastrous than the 2005 earthquake. It is good to be ready for what is to be done but it may be too early to plan for it at this point of time. Donations and loans or grants for rehabilitation work will depend upon how well we perform in the relief efforts. Honesty is a big, big question mark for our federal and provincial governments.

  • Mehnaz Karim  On August 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Rebuild? Lets help with the immidiate reliefe first. Where is that ????!

  • shaheen  On August 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Just back from the banks of the Indus, RY Khan & Rajanpur area…the rage of nature is awful, global warming is here to stay…we must do our bit with long term & short term plans…….ecology comes with the latter. Agree that Floods may come again, need to improve our Forest at the mountain level, the Timber market has slaughtered all !
    But first…let us not loose hope, though at this time it will take quite an effort.

    The issue is to just plug on !

  • Varris  On August 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I stopped reading after the first ten suggestions. The writer states that the magnitude of the destruction is so high that no developing country can manage it on its own. Yet he goes on to suggest measures which even a developed country cannot afford.
    We have the earthquake experience to look back on. Our performance was spastic. Now we want to propose even more grandiose schemes. In this land of pure corruption , incompetence , grand larceny and inhumanity , the good Admiral thinks that we can achieve some if not all his plans. Does he know that in flood hit areas , there are bastards who snatch away relief rations from the women and children.? There are people who lie to the rescueing forces , so that they can get their belongings like a CNIC ? And we want them to assess their own damage and pay them on the spot?? I think I live in a different Pakistan and read the wrong Newspapers and see the wrong TV channels.

    Varris

  • Adnan  On August 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Sound propositions. But seem difficult to implement due to apathetic nature of our current rulers. If truly implemented, this disaster can really turn us around.

    اپني دنيا آپ پيدا کر اگر زندوں ميں ہے | سر آدم ہے، ضمير کن فکاں ہے زندگي
    Allama Iqbal (ra)

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On August 17, 2010 at 8:35 am

    My friends bare with me. We are a nation of our own kind mainly with a very SHORT MEMORY. We are now champions of clamaties very good at overnightly forgetting about and leaving far behind all clamities and catastropies that we have gone through that we have survived so far in last 63 yrs. Those all of us who somehow by the mercy of God almighty have survived strongly believe in an old saying “that there is always an oppportunity in every Clamity” and thereafter surviving through every clamity we altogether collectively and individually start looking out as vultures in hunt for our own sahre of opportunities. We start looking out how to capitalize on ruins and debris and how to encash on funerals and bodybags. What happened and what did we learn thereafter that amssive and brutal killings and dislocation of our men women and childern at the time of independence? How much we learnt from wars and insurgencies and terrorism acts? how much we have learnt from earthquakes not only here but from the world over? How much we learnt from brutal murders of our prominenet national figures? Pity the nation we have learnt Nothing Nothing Nothing..Collectively and individually in our own capacity of lust and greed and hunger of illgotton illicit wealth, power, preogatives and fame we had no time to sit back and look back what we lost and how we lost? Therefore inorder to plan anything and to prempt any calmity of the future first of all we all must individually and collectively spend quite sometime in front of Mirrors. Yes we are unfortunate Yet we are Cruel in our own deeds.

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On August 17, 2010 at 9:11 am

    My Friends: We can mobilise around us owesome resources and expertise of the world to develop multidimensional plans and ideas telling us how to prempt future disasters but all those exercises will again go down the drain if our own intent, will and concious from lowest to highest ebb is not clear & clean .

  • Parvez Amin  On August 17, 2010 at 9:24 am

    In my opinion, the first priority must be food: we need detailed plans to grow, import, transport, store. The first one must involve affected people in cultivating and growing. We cannot pay for the second one and will have to rely on donations; even if the donations come, the problems are likely to be in distribution; we must plan for them now. The last two are not easily done, especially the long term storage.

    The second priority has to be warm clothing and bedding for the approaching winter months. For bedding sleeping bags will have to do.

    Belief in the ability to earn to sustain a family is crucial and it is up to the fortunate to provide opportunities to work for pay.

    We must not wait for others to help us but must immediately start efforts that can be seen to employ all our own resources.

    Plans have numbers, quantities, costs and completion schedules – I see no sign of serious planning. Wringing hands and exhortation have their place in life but don’t accomplish much. We need to organize our resources and put people to work – this is best done by our armed forces.

  • zubair  On August 17, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Very good suggestions indeed. However I may like to add that the magnitude of disaster is such that people “alone” can never handle it. There has to be Govt’s involvement in a massive scale. so far whet we have seen is that the Govt is either of freeze mode or has no will to do anything—personally I don’t know why. All we see is the Army and the NGOs, including those considered as terror groups. I also see a massive chaos when hundreds of thousands armed people flock to the cities with no law enforcement agencies anywhere. All we can do is to do whatever we, on our own, can and pray that at least 50% of money and material donated by others get to the people and not in the personal accounts of the “elected” members.
    Zubaiir

  • Syed Masud ul Hassan  On August 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Zard ari has unveiled his government’s plan for quick rehabilitation of flood affected people.

    1. Business and industrial community to come forward in rebuilding houses and villages. Those places can be named after them.

    2. International community to help rehabilitate infra structure and economy.

  • Admiral Iftikhar A. Sirohey  On August 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Dear Friends,

    Thank you. I have read the comments.

    The idea has been spread. It will certainly help if it reaches those who will be tasked to execute.
    Each suggestion will need detail planning and has been so mentioned therein. I do not claim to be all knowing.
    Tried to put on paper what needs to be done and how to be done only in the passing.

    The answer sought in all comments is contained in the document itself.
    Only the Armed Forces can set up the organisation to implement what has been proposed.
    The main question asked is who will do. The answer is there. We shall do it. External help has been
    suggested and how that will be utilised is also mentioned.

    Funds will not come voluntarily from within or externally. Hence proposal to raise funds has been included.
    About response from outside has been attributed to our obtaining conception. That has also been
    catered for in control of the funds by outsiders, with acknowledge honesty.

    I have not been able to send it to the JCSC yet because of some trouble in hotmail .

    IAS

  • HABIB  On September 10, 2010 at 5:45 am

    THE UGLY PAKISTANI
    These floods have brought with them untold misery and devastation for
    > > >> the people of Pakistan.
    > > >> While everyone of us has been affected one way or the other, there is
    > > >> shocking revelation for the first time to many, as to how the 80% of
    > > >> Pakistanis live…oppressed, poor, illiterate, dirty, unhealthy, almo
    > > >> st
    > > >> as sub-humans. Worse, that we the Pakistanis have always known that,
    > > >> and are guilty of perpetuating the utter sub-standard living
    > > >> conditions of this majority, purely for the selfish motives of the
    > > >> minority 10% to 20%.
    > > >> Looking at the scenes in the media, the West and the world at large
    > > >> might get the illusion that these unprecedented floods alone are
    > > >> responsible for the seemingly unspeakable plight of these people.
    > > >> But ,honestly can WE, THE PRIVILEGED PAKISTANIS, satisfy our
    > > >> conscience by thinking the same way ? I do not think so, because we
    > > >> are privy to the miserable lifestyle of these people that has existed
    > > >> for ages, much before the floods, and there is no respite in sight
    > > >> long after the floods.
    > > >> Look at the clothes they wear, they have always worn these. Torn,
    > > >> dirty, smelly and funny.
    > > >> Every woman has a suckling in her lap, and one in the womb. There is
    > > >> no concept of birth control
    > > >> Every family has on average 10 children, aged from one month to 18
    > > >> years, there is no awareness of population planning
    > > >> Flies on their faces, in their food, from times immemorial
    > > >> Dirty water from canals, rivers, standing ponds to drink has made
    > > >> them immune. They throw away bottled water as something alien to them
    > > >> Immune to germs, bacteria and unhygienic environment, but only to the
    > > >> extent that they breath alright, and know only this as their life…,
    > > >> much before the floods.
    > > >> Ram shackled mud houses or dirty huts to live in.
    > > >> Pathetic Charpaees to sleep on
    > > >> Meat of dying or dead animals to eat
    > > >> Contaminated food grains stored for a year in advance in their dens,
    > > >> to sustain their lives
    > > >> No schools to go to
    > > >> No running water in their open air toilets
    > > >> No doctors, no hospitals, no medicines
    > > >> When they are sick and die, it is all taken in their stride, that is
    > > >> the way life is, they comfort themselves…
    > > >> No facilities of the modern world, no access to technology.

    > > >> No, no, no… all that listed above ,and more is not the doing of the
    > > >> se
    > > >> floods. On the contrary, the floods have given most of them their
    > > >> first glimpse of how the privileged class lives, eats, drinks and
    > > >> enjoys life…., at their cost. And how this class deliberately,
    > > >> consciously works hard to keep the majority in the middle ages.

    > > >> Floods have not changed anything for the worse for these people, these
    > > >> have in fact taught them something. That they are victims of the crime
    > > >> committed against them by the elite, the politicians, the mafias and
    > > >> this was about time these “children of a lesser god” woke up from
    > > >> their deep slumber, put their act together and enter the 21st
    > > >> century. Let THE UGLY PAKISTANI rise !!

    > > >> hh

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