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Sunday April 21, 2024

2.1 million houses to be built in flood-ravaged areas of Sindh

By Sarang Latif Chandio
August 06, 2023

“I had built my new house six months ago. Unfortunately, it rained, and I watched my whole life’s savings crumble in front of my eyes as my new house was broken and reduced to a pile of dust. I felt like my whole world was destroyed, and darkness enveloped me.”

Fahmeeda, a woman who had received her certificate during the ceremony for granting ownership rights of houses to the flood victims in Larkana, began her poignant story in this way on the occasion.

“Now imagine building a house with so much hard work and love, only to see the ground collapse in front of your eyes within hours, leaving you and your children standing under the open sky. What will be your heart’s condition if it rains continuously for four days?” she continued.

“The district administration shifted us to a relief camp, but after two days we returned on our own and started living in the tent provided by the Sindh government. It seemed then that the rest of our lives would have to be spent in that tent.

“I was listening to the announcements, but my hopes had vanished. Then one day a surveying team visited us, gathered information about our family and the house, and assured us that they will build us our own house.

“It felt like a glimmer of hope amid the difficulties as they came to heal our wounds. Who will make houses for us poor? Time passed like this, and one day we received a message that the funds for building our house had arrived.

“The first instalment had been sent to us, and the happiness I felt can’t be expressed in words. I remember how I saw my entire life’s savings crumble before my eyes. Today I have my own house, designed and built according to my own wishes.

“What’s even more exciting is that I now hold the ownership rights of this house which were granted to me. When I received the certificate from Bilawal Bhutto my heart was filled with prayers for the late Shaheed Benazir.

“I am a mother of four children, and I know how happy and proud a mother feels when her children do well. I was filled with immense pride that Bilawal sahib was fulfilling the promise of providing Roti, Kapra Aur Makan [bread, cloth and house] for his mother and grandfather.

“As you see this document in my hand, you may notice the tears in my eyes and the happiness on my face, which will help you understand my emotions at that time.”

Overwhelmed with emotion, she cried tears of joy after finally getting her house built and receiving ownership rights. “Sir, do you know what makes me the happiest?” she asked me as she held my hand at the ceremony.

“The Sanad [certificate] was given to me by Benazir’s son!” And as I placed my hand on her head with compassion, I could not help but remember the late Shaheed Benazir.

May Allah grant righteous and obedient children to everyone. Millions of individuals like Fahmeeda are overjoyed today that the Sindh government is building them houses of their own and granting ownership rights to the women in the households.

The Sindh government will construct houses for 2.1 million flood victims across the province under the Sindh Peoples Housing for Flood Affectees (SPHF) programme. Ownership rights of these houses will be given to the housewives, marking an essential step towards women empowerment.

The government will build 110,786 houses in District Badin, 156,210 in District Dadu, 82,746 in District Ghotki, 19,556 in District Hyderabad, 109,700 in District Jacobabad, 55,401 in District Jamshoro, 73,957 in District Kashmore and 243,870 in District Khairpur.

And 131,806 houses will be built in District Larkana, 52 in District Malir (Karachi), 45,879 in District Matiari, 85,673 in District Mirpurkhas, 134,960 in District Naushahro Feroze, 137,126 in District Qambar Shahdadkot, 104,830 in District Sanghar and 113,590 in District Shaheed Benazirabad.

The government will also build 89,791 houses in District Shikarpur, 52,097 in District Sujawal and the coastal areas, 81,035 in District Sukkur, 29,971 in District Tando Allahyar, 28,456 in District Tando Muhammad Khan, 8,515 in District Tharparkar, 24,565 in District Thatta and 67,252 in District Umerkot.

Under the SPHF programme, Foreign Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari distributed ownership rights certificates to 5,000 homeless flood victims in the Larkana district during the first phase of the project.

On the occasion the PPP chief reaffirmed his commitment to continue the mission of Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, and work towards alleviating the country’s difficulties.

He pointed out that the provincial government of the PPP is providing financial assistance to the flood victims to rebuild their houses, ensuring greater safety in case of future floods.

Emphasising women’s economic empowerment, he said house ownership rights are a financial asset being given to every woman from a displaced flood-affected family, following the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

He mentioned that despite the natural calamity, the Sindh government remains undeterred, constructing houses for flood victims across the province. He admitted that building so many houses would take time, but he remarked that this marks the beginning of a revolution.

He also expressed his concerns that the people in Islamabad might not fully comprehend the extent of the sufferings of the flood victims in District Larkana.

To ensure transparency, the programme has adopted co-mapping so that people can view the location of the beneficiaries through Google Maps. A comprehensive dashboard shows the profiles of all 2.1 million beneficiaries, including their identity cards, bank account details, house photos, personal photos and phone numbers.

The initiative aims to include all victims, irrespective of caste or creed, ensuring that even those from marginalised groups — such as a Jogi fakir, a folk singer from Sukkur or a eunuch — benefit from the programme.

The provincial government envisions that with this project, the PPP and the dream of Roti, Kapra Aur Makan of Shaheed Bhutto will be fulfilled. Bilawal Bhutto, the grandson of Shaheed Bhutto, is leading this endeavour, gathering the prayers and support of millions of people until the dream is fully realised.