MIRPUR (AJK)-Authorities have informed the international donor agencies and institutions including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNICEF and UNDP experts of the need for performance of their due global responsibilities to bring the life back to the pre-earthquake normalcy the quake-hit Mirpur of Azad Jammu & Kashmir through launching reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.

This was disclosed by a senior National Rural Support Program of AJK government Attique Ahmed at a joint news conference addressed by AJK minister Ch Rukhsar Ahmed and Commissioner Mirpur Division and Relief Commissioner Muhammad Tayyeb here.

Director General MDA Ch Ejaz Raza, Chairman Loss Assessment Committee and DC Bhimbher Sardar Khalid Mahmood Kha, DC Mirpur Tahir Mumtaz, Director Administration and DC MDHA Ch Amjad Iqbal, Divisional Head PID AJK Mirpur Div Javed Malik and other senior officials of Mirpur Division and District Administration were also present on this occasion.

The NRSP official said that the UNICEF and UNDP experts teams have visited the quake-stricken areas of Mirpur subdivision including entire city and much-affected adjoining area of Jatlaan and Khari Sharif to assess gravity of the critical situation caused by the deadly earthquake that left at least 40 people killed and over 800 injured besides rendering hundreds of thousands of the local population shelter-less.

Attique revealed that integrated efforts for the first time in the history have been made through conducting digital survey to assess the material loss caused by the calamity in Mirpur and adjoining quake-hit zone in the light of the decision by the State government. He described it the best composition of the current latest regime of information technology for assessment of the damages.

Addressing the news conference, Mirpur Division Commissioner Muhammad Tayyeb revealed that the Japanese Agency of assessing the colossal losses caused by the national calamity has also been invited to assess the loss besides suggesting precautionary measures for future to minimize losses in case of any calamity.

The commissioner made it clear that in the future buildings would be constructed purely under the stipulated building codes. He said that a special wing to approve designs of buildings in Mirpur district is being set up in Mirpur Development Authority under the supervision of a highly qualified Structural Engineer. He underlined that seasoned structural Engineer Tanveer Qureshi, currently severing as Superintending Engineer of AJK PWD (PHED Division) Mirpur is being named to head the proposed Building Codes Wing in the MDA.

Muhammad Tayyeb said that since the survey of every damaged building in the quake-hit Mirpur city and adjoining areas is in full swing, none of the damaged buildings owners would be allowed to carry out reconstruction or any change in design of their buildings till completion of the ongoing survey process.

Elaborating the so far progress in the relief and rehabilitation process in quake-hit zone, the Divisional Commissioner said that at least 20,000 residential as well commercial buildings have surveyed in the affected area so far, out of which 1,564 buildings have been found totally damaged and 4,815 other buildings partially damaged by Monday - Oct. 7. He informed that as many mobile 28 teams of experts have been engaged in assessment of the loss. He said that since initial relief works have almost been completed so far, yet two relief camps - one each at Deputy Commissioner Office Mirpur and the other at Police Station Afzalpur are still working to meet the need of any affected people. To a question, Muhammad Tayyeb said that reputed international donors are also proposed to be invited to assess the loss for their onward due vibrant role in reconstruction and rehabilitation process. To another question, he said that survey for inspection of all the buildings in quake hit zone in Mirpur would be completed by the end of next week.

Speaking on the occasion, AJK minister Ch Rukhsar Ahmed said that since four of the water ways (Rajbah) of the much affected Upper Jhelum Canal have totally been destroyed in the catastrophe, the irrigation system in the affected area of Jatlaan and Khari Shareef in the constituency LA-4 has badly crippled.

Lambasted, the Punjab Irrigation Department for trying to resume the upper Jhelum canal allegedly through sub-standard work, the minister said that the provincial irrigation department intended to run the canal after carrying out substandard reconstruction. Rukhsar said that the AJK government has informed the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar of the alleged nefarious move of the Punjab Irrigation Department.

The AJK minister said that 20-km long Mangla-Jatlaan Road along the Upper Jhelum Canal would not bear the substandard construction - which, he feared, may cause breach in the canal as a result of the sub-standard construction.

In this connection, he underlined that the Punjab Irrigation Department has been using pipes of only one feet diameter against the specific pipes of three-feet diameter recommended by Mirpur administration for the irrigation purpose in the area. Rukhsar underlined that due pitching of the upper Jhelum canal is still awaited.

The AJK minister also emphasized the need for immediate reconstruction and rehabilitation of the foot bridge over the canal for movement between the populous areas at either side of the canal. Two of the bridges were totally destroyed in the earthquake.

Rukhsar said that AJK Prime Minister has been requested to immediately summon the special cabinet meeting to discuss and review the colossal loss caused by the deadly earthquake.

Director Administration Mangla Dam Housing Authority Ch Amjad Iqbal highlighted the delivery of relief goods to the affected people by the District Administration so far including 10,754 tents, 769 major tents, 256 school tens, 1,470 plastic sheets. He said that since a relief committee headed by Senior Member Board of Revenue of AJK Govt Fayaz Ali Abbasi has been formed so far, the government is determined to extend every possible due relief to the population of the calamity-hit areas with prime focus to bring the life back to normal to the pre-quake regime, he added.