LAHORE - Several hundred Kalash Valley villagers left without shelter by Monday’s earthquake had already been made homeless in July when flash floods swept away their houses, The Nation has learned.

More than 500 local residents were staying temporarily with relatives or living in temporary shelters on the Valley’s icy slopes when Pakistan’s biggest-ever earthquake made them homeless once again, residents said last night.

They were among 3,000 villagers whose homes were damaged in the July floods, all of whom are still waiting for compensation payments promised three months ago by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Residents last night voiced scepticism following his new pledge to give Rs200,000 to each family affected by the earthquake and questioned his commitment to begin disbursing the funds.

Machirik Shah, Jagosh, Shazad Jinnah, Mujahiden and Banat Bibi were among the hundreds of residents who earlier lost their homes in the floods and their temporary shelters in the quake.

“It was Eid day when flood swept my house. I spent one and half months with three kids at a relative’s house and with my neighbours’ help I made a small shelter just two weeks ago but the roof collapsed in the earthquake. My husband is already ill. I don’t know where to go or what to do… I have no cattle to sell to rebuild my house,” cried Banat Bibi. Machirik Shah said his wife was beside herself with worry after suffering a second disaster. The earthquake completely destroyed 200 homes in Mumuret (Bumboret), Rukmu (Rumboor) and Biriu (Birir)—the narrow valleys of Kalash near the western border of Chitral district – but half of all homes in the area were also severely damaged, residents said.

They said 52 Bumboret families who lost their homes in July’s floods were staying in relatives’ homes which were destroyed on Monday. Around 40 other families around the valley were also displaced by both tragedies. The earthquake hit almost half the Kalash Valley’s population while 60 per cent was affected by the floods.

“Dozens of children are among hundreds of people (now) homeless in freezing temperatures. They are without proper food, shelter and medicines and their suffering is increasing as temperatures fall. The government had promised Rs500, 000 each for flood affected families but they have not had even a paisa so far.” Around 8,000 people live in Bumboret while the population of Rumboor and Birir is almost 4,000 each. Luke Rehmat, a local Valley activist, said local residents no longer believe government promises. The floods had washed away homes, schools, shops, hotels, foot bridges, stables and cattle shed in remote villages.

A local government official, who asked not to be named, said more than 100 houses were damaged by the quake in his area alone and but no aid had reached them so far. Instead local people were helping themselves and each other, he added. “My own brother’s house was destroyed in the earthquake. We are rebuilding it ourselves. Nobody has offered to help,” he said.

A report on the earthquake damage by the Pakistan Red Crescent found 9,209 houses damaged - 8,453 of which are in KP. According to KP’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority the most affected districts are Chitral, Swat and Dir Lower where more than 5,000 homes were damaged.