Floods: Jacobabad worst-hit area
By: FAKHIR HAYAT OSTO
ONCE again the people of Jacobabad district have been left at the mercy of nature to survive through the trauma created by floods. A 40-hour-long record downpour proved more than enough to collapse the entire irrigation and drainage system.
The worst-hit is the region of Jacobabad taluka. This is the part which runs parallel to Rojhan Jamali (Balochistan), with Hairdin drainage canal serving as a boundary between Sindh and Balochistan.
When water gets out of control in Hairdin drain, its banks on both sides start breaching, as a consequence of which the parallel parts of the two provinces are simultaneously inundated.
Ironically, when the floodwater heavily accumulates on the side of Balochistan, it is given downstream passage by providing cuts to the Osta Muhammad Road at Khanpur to be dumped in Hamal Lake, whereas for Sindh there is no such option.
On the contrary, matters get worse because high banks of the Khirthar Canal serve as a barrier to any downstream passage for floodwater.
Topographically also, the level of this area of Jacobabad is low. Hence, the option of ultimately draining out the flood water into Hairdin drain does not work.
Consequently, water is stored in this area comprising about six or seven dehs (a population of about one union council).
To add to the agony of the people, even when water has accumulated here, the authorities concerned do not try to provide it some other route. Hence, a temporary dam is allowed to form, serving the role of Manchar dhand or Hamal Lake for getting rid of excess water.
Why are the irrigation authorities so unaware regarding the discharge of water from the Hairdin drain? If the inflow could be handled successfully by stopping the water here, then it would be good for all. But if we know that there will be no respite in the flow from the breaches of the drain; then it is sheer negligence to keep on letting water accumulate and waiting for nature to take its course. After all, the people living here are also human and they should be protected in every way by taking strong measures.
Why was the bank of the Hairdin drainage canal not properly repaired on the side of Sindh following the 2010 floods? Disaster could have been prevented from repeating itself had appropriate precautionary measures been taken on time.
However, the 2010 floods had one positive factor. Floodwater carried with it silt from the Indus which improved the fertility of these lands, whereas this time around it is the drainage rain-water which is spreading everywhere. It is going to seriously damage the fertility of all land from where it does not get drained out.
I appeal to the authorities concerned to take urgent measures to sort out the problem for good for the future of posterity’s sake.