By Muhammad Zubair
The floods of 2010 brought countrywide human and property losses in the length and breadth of Pakistan. Amongst the numerous losses, the roads in multiple districts of Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) faced havoc. JICA, after responding at the rescue stage of the disaster, decided to contribute to the rehabilitation of the affected areas.
In 2011, JICA committed an extremely concessional loan worth 14.7 billion Yen. Within 5 years of that commitment, approximately 520KM of roads besides 10 bridges were reconstructed/rehabilitated in KP.
A rickshaw plying the DIK-Chashma Road
Mr. Taimur Khan, a software engineer by profession living in Islamabad and is hailing from District Dera Ismail Khan (DIK) in KP. Mr. Khan, while recalling the immediate aftermath of the floods says "The floods of 2010 rendered many roads damaged and districts got disconnected from each other. DIK to Chashma road was swept at multiple points and travelling to province of Punjab via Chashma was difficult experience for months". Mr. Taimur, while further explaining the troubles of plying the damaged road said "It became more challenging while traveling with patients that needed swift and comfortable ride but same was not possible due to terrible road condition".
DIK-Chashma Road being used for transporting goods from KP to Punjab
The road situation and hardships associated with it, as explained by Mr. Taimur, were one way or the other same in the entire KP. Since the situation was serious and needed emergency response, the commitment by JICA was swiftly translated into action and in a short period of 5 years (initially planned 9 years), the objective was achieved.
Today, the DIK-Chashma road is offering smooth and safe ride to all type of vehicles. "The drive is very comfortable both for passengers and cargo vehicles. We see least wear and tear to our vehicles compared to previous road condition and reach our destination safe and fast". Mr. Taimur says the road now is even "better compared to the one before floods which surely is symbol of Japanese quality famous the world over".
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Taimur says, "JICA embarked on challenge of floods and converted it into an opportunity by building quality roads. Finally, I am thankful to the people of Japan for always standing with the people of Pakistan in testing times".