World Bank delegation agrees on working out proposal for housing in flood-hit areas

By Our Correspondent
September 25, 2022

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday met a delegation of the World Bank (WB) led by its regional vice president for South Asia Martin Raiser that presented a $1.1 billion rescue and rehabilitation plan for the flood-devastated people in the province.

The CM told the WB delegation that heavy rains and floods had inundated 15.39 per cent or 21,691.7 square kilometres of the total 140,914 square kilometres of the province, and the total populated area submerged by floodwaters was 12,541.6 square kilometres, which was 18.8 per cent of the total populated area of Sindh.

Shah said such a magnitude of the devastation was not only unprecedented but would cost billions of rupees to rehabilitate the people, their agriculture, and infrastructure.

The meeting, which was held at the CM House, was also attended by WB Senior Operations Officer Ewa Sobczynska, Country Director Najy Benhassine, Operations Manager Gailius J Draugelis, and Programme Leaders Abedalrazq F Khalil and Tobias Akhtar Haque.

At the outset of the meeting, the WB South Asia vice president said that he had visited Dadu, Jamshoro, and other flooded areas and had never seen such a flood situation and humanitarian crisis. He added that the WB would play its due role to support the provincial government to steer its affected people out of the crisis.

Housing sector

The CM said that the floods had damaged some 1.7 million houses in the province that needed to be reconstructed after the water had been drained. He added that the construction of such a large number of houses would cost at least US $500 million.

Shah said that he was trying to make people return 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 delegation head said that WB experts and officers concerned of the Sindh government would sit together and prepare a project specifying the cost, time and technology of construction so that the same proposal could be sent to the WB’s higher authorities for approval.

Water supply

The CM said that the floods and heavy rains had damaged dams, waterways and their allied structure as well as tube wells and pumps. He added that according to the initial assessment, the rehabilitation of the irrigation network would cost around Rs94.7 billion.

Shah urged the donor agency to re-appropriate its earlier funding for the province or provide at least $250 million so that the irrigation network could be repaired, or else not only agro-economy would suffer but the people engaged in the agriculture sector would be ruined.

He told the WB team 23 districts of Sindh had been affected by the rains and floods, after which water supply and draining systems in many big and small town and villages had been destroyed whose repair 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 those town and villages. The WB delegation told the CM to submit a working paper for duly considering these issues.

Municipal roads

The heavy rains had destroyed roads in 102 talukas and 5,727 dehs, the CM said, adding that he had visited such affected areas and witnessed that the roads were no more usable.

He added that at least $100 million would be required to reconstruct such roads. The WB team suggested that the Sindh government submit the details of the roads so that a project could be considered and approved.

Income generation

Shah said that the floods had killed over 12,000 cattle - the only source of income for the poorest of the poor. Various flood-hit people after being displaced had also lost their source of income, he added. “I want to start schemes to provide financial support to the poorest of the poor, male as well as female, so that they start their income-generating activities such as selling fruits and vegetables on pushcarts, embroidery work by womenfolk and such other livelihood activities.” The CM said the income generating and livelihood schemes would cost $1 million. The WB delegation appreciated the plan and urged the CM to get its working paper submitted to them for approval.