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Flood Relief

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Report on Receipt and Distribution of Relief Goods
donated by
 Korean Alpine Federation

Preamble

  1. The devastating floods which occurred throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan from July till September 2010 caused extensive damage to property and life, mostly in the mountainous area of Swat and in plains along adjoining areas of rivers Kabul, Chenab and Indus in Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa, Punjab and Sindh Provinces respectively. The Korean Alpine Federation (KAF) rose to the occasion and kindly donated clothes including down parkas, winter jackets, coats, winter pants etc both for children and adults, contained in three containers and shipped from Busan, South Korea on 28th October 2011. President KAF vide his letter dated 26 October 2010 addressed to President Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) desired that “these must be provided to the local people in the mountain region of Pakistan, especially the highest mountain area like as Nanga Parbat area where many of Korean climbers and foreign climbers have been climbing every year”. President ACP in his reply, while assuring distribution in accordance with KAF wishes, however pointed out that “it would be convenient for ACP if the containers were shipped to Islamabad for ease of customs clearance and transportation”. To meet the cost of release of the relief material and its further distribution in the mountain areas of Gilgit Baltistan, Union of Asian Alpine Associations (UAAA) collected US $ 10,000 from the member associations of UAAA and donated it to ACP.   

Constitution of ACP Relief Goods Distribution Committee

  1. The newly elected Executive Council of the ACP, in its first meeting held on 6th November 2010 constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of President ACP comprising Executive Council members from Diamer, Astor, Hunza and Skardu districts of the Gilgit-Baltistan province for distribution of the relief goods. The Committee, during its deliberations held in December and January 2011 sorted out the distribution mechanism and allotted quotas of relief goods for distribution as under:-
  2. Diamer and Astore Districts (around Nanga Parbat) – 55 percent
  3. Skardu District                                                             - 20 percent
  4. Hunza District (Attabad Lake affected population) – 25 percent

Customs Clearance and Shipment of Relief Goods from Karachi to Islamabad

  1. On receipt of the original documents all concerned agencies, including the Government National Disaster Relief Authority were approached for issue of the required authorization documents for release of the goods and its transportation from Karachi to Islamabad. In the meantime the Committee selected one Clearing agent on the recommendation of one of its members. The shipment of the relief goods arrived Karachi Sea Port on 26 November 2010, but could only be offloaded after holidays in the first week of December 2010. The required documentation was received from the concerned Government agencies by first week of December 2010 and was provided to the Clearing Agent in the middle of December 2010.
  2. On demand, ACP transferred required amount to the Clearing Agent for payment against storage, clearing and demurrage charges for the shipping lines and Karachi Port Trust on 10 January 2011. However, inspite of best efforts the Clearing Agent could not get the relief goods cleared during by. As required, ACP deposited additional payment on 3rd February 2011 but of no avail. 
  3. As release of the relief goods ran into various problems due to issues between Shipping company and Clearing Agent and further with Karachi Port Trust, ACP Executive Council, in its meeting held on 20th February 2011 decided to send two of its members to Karachi to expedite release of the Relief Goods on urgent basis. The Committee members visited Karachi on 21 February 2011 and discussed the matter with the concerned shipping agent and Karachi Port Trust. ACP was asked to deposit further demurrage charges. As the clearance was already getting late it was decided to deposit the additional payments on account of storage and clearance charges as required and got the relief goods released from Karachi Port Trust. Subsequently three long trailers were hired by the Committee members for transporting the containers from Karachi to Islamabad. The Relief Goods finally arrived in Islamabad on 27th February 2011.

Unloading, Storage and Dispatch to the Target Areas

  1. On arrival of the relief goods in Islamabad seals of the three Containers were opened in front of President ACP, members of the Relief Distribution Committee and two Korean representatives. All the cartons were counted, photographed and stacked in rows with the assistance of a large number of volunteers by 3rd March Annex A . At the same time the Relief goods cartons were distributed in accordance with the agreed upon distribution quota and were handed over to the nominated Committee members as under:-
  2. Astore District – Mr Rana Aslam Shahid
  3. Diamer District - Mr Lever Khan
  4. Hunza District – Mr Rehmat Ali
  5. Skardu District – Mr Ayaz Shigri
  6. Distribution of Relief Goods in District Astore Relief goods truck left Islamabad on 3rd March and arrived Astore on 4th March 2011, and later headed for Tarishing. Due to heavy snowfall, the transport could only reach short of Tarishing at village Chorit. For next four days registration of the affected people was undertaken and the relief goods were transported to the affected villages. On 10th March 2011 the relief goods distribution ceremony was organized at the villages of Chorit, Zaipur, Tarishing and Nakay Gagy. On 11th March 2011 distribution ceremony was held at Rehmanpoor village. Summary and photographs of the distribution is at Annex B.
  7. Distribution of Relief Goods in District Diamer  Relief goods trucks left Islamabad on 4rd March and arrived Chilas on 5th March 2011. The goods were unloaded with the assistance of local volunteers. As roads and bridges leading to the flood affected area of Bouner Valley had been destroyed due to the floods, therefore the goods could not be taken further into the valley. Till 10th March detailed list of the affected population of the area was prepared with the help of local administration officials, and all the affected population of the valley was informed to gather at Bouner Das on 13th March and collect the relief goods in accordance with the lists prepared earlier. The relief goods were distributed at Bouner Dass on 13th March 2011 amongst the affected people in the presence of other ACP members from the area as well as the local administration. On 15th March volunteers from Fairy Meadows, Gas and Boto Gah villages collected the goods and distributed the goods amongst the affected homes of these villages. Summary and photographs of the distribution is at Annex C.
  8. Distribution of Relief Goods in District Skardu  For the flood affected villages of District Skardu 4500 pieces of jackets and trousers were allocated. The shipment of the goods was delayed due to administrative problems. After discussion with the local officials, one shipment of relief goods was distributed near Askole village in Braldu valley on 14th April 2011 whereas another shipment of relief goods was distributed amongst the affected people of Kharmang valley of the Ganche District in the presence of local elders on 16th and 17th April 2011. On 18th and 19th April 2011, some of the goods were distributed at Skardu amongst the people who were displaced from their homes due to floods. Photographs of distribution are at Annex D.
  9. Distribution of Relief Goods in District Hunza                       A massive mountain slide occurred on 4th January 2010 near Attabad village in Hunza valley, about 109 Kms from Gilgit, causing 14 deaths and damaging property. It also blocked River Hunza with 108 metre high dam of earthen and boulder debris measuring about 1.5 kms in length and 300 to 350 metres in width. It resulted in formation of a lake which has since extended upstream for over 20 kms near Passu, submerging Karakoram Highway and number of villages and cultivable land. Population of Gojal (25,000 nos) had been badly affected and many people are still living in relief camps set up by Government and other relief agencies. After arrival of the Committee member in Hunza on 28th March 2011, meetings were arranged with Govt Officials and village heads of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) of Attaabad, Aayeenabad, Shiskhat and Gulmit village committees and list of distribution amongst the affected families were finalized by 5th April. Distribution of relief goods was undertaken at Gulmit IDPs Camp on 8th April in close coordination with respective village committees/ numberdars and acknowledgement receipts were obtained.  It is pertinent to mention here that, collection and distribution of relief goods was carried out by the local volunteers and boys scouts. Summary and photographs of the distribution is at Annex E.

Conclusion

It was kind and considerate for the KAF to donate the clothing items for the flood affected population of the mountain areas of Pakistan. ACP is thankful to KAF and expresses its gratitude for this magnanimous donation. However winter in the flood affected areas of the mountain region of Pakistan starts from early December and given the custom clearance and transportation delays from Karachi to the affected areas it was not possible to distribute the relief goods before or during the winter season when heavy snowfall occurs making travel to and distribution in the area very difficult. Any effort to distribute the relief material in the high mountainous areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, therefore need to start in October. President ACP, in view of the earlier experience during earthquake relief of 2005, had rightly mentioned the inconvenience caused by booking the shipment to Karachi instead of Islamabad. However, time required for its clearance could have been telescoped if the clearing agent was more efficient. Lack of any earlier experience with customs and clearing agents at Karachi was a setback with ACP. However ACP was successful in clearing the relief goods, its transportation to various districts of Gilgit Baltistan and finally distributing it amongst the affected population of the area. The people of the Gilgit Baltistan are thankful to Korean Alpine Federation and the ACP for distributing the relief goods amongst the needy people.