'No efforts to drain 12,005 rain-affected villages in Sindh' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘No efforts to drain 12,005 rain-affected villages in Sindh’

Shahid Husain

Karachi: Although as many as 3.18 million people and 12,005 villages were affected by the recent downpours in Sindh, no efforts were being made to drain the stagnant water, a highly placed source informed The News on the condition of anonymity.

As of October 17, around 3,184,743 persons had been affected by the heavy rains. Out of the total, 2,421 individuals were injured and 258 died, while 260,933 houses were fully damaged and 161,225 were partially affected,

Crops spread over 245,459 acres of land were affected, 1,826 cattle perished and as many as many as 264,691 people were living in 438 relief camps, the source said.

The source regretted that the national and provincial disaster management authorities had failed to convene a meeting to alleviate the sufferings of the millions of impoverished people in Sindh.

“The Coordination Committee comprises top officials of irrigation, health, education and relief departments. Until and unless its meeting is convened and steps taken for the draining of these villages, the district coordination committees cannot take a decision,” the source said.

“Calamity has been transformed into a tragedy,” he regretted.

The source said that the drainage of water had been politicised and influential feudal lords added to the misery of the poor. Stagnant water had not only destroyed standing crops, but an epidemic was also feared since there were so many mosquitoes.

“Donor agencies were reluctant to provide relief to the victims this year,” the source added.”

Kashmore, Ghotki, Shikarpur and Jacobabad districts were the worst affected areas, he revealed.

“People are suffering from skin diseases and are now scared that flooding and heavy downpour would become an annual phenomenon that could affect their crops.”

Elaborating, the source said that 71 million people in Sindh were affected by flooding in 2010 and more than 1.2 million cusecs of water entered the province in the shape of riverine floods.

It damaged the Right Bank at Tori Bund, Khuda Wah, Monarki and these breaches affected the districts Kashmore, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Qambar Shahdadkot, Tando Mohammad Khan as well as Badin.

He further pointed out that in 2011, heavy rains affected as many as 9.1 million people in 16 districts of Sindh.

“Left Bank Outfall Drain overflowed since natural watercourses have been encroached upon by influential people. In 2012, again, it was climate change that hit Sindh. Never in the province’s history had temperature fallen below minus, but this year, it dropped below freeing in the districts of Dadu and Mirpurkhas,” the source said.

“The MET predicted there would be heavy rains and the Sindh government was fully prepared, but instead of rains, it was drought that hit Tharparkar and on August 19, authorities declared it a calamity-hit area,” the source said. “However, on September 9, 550mm rain was recorded and it was the highest over the 100 years.

The News