Sindh rains: Govt scrambles as UN prepares to launch aid appeal

Published: September 13, 2011

Villagers carry their belongings through flood water following heavy monsoon rain at Golarchi town in Badin district, about 200 km east of Karachi, on September 13, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

HYDERABAD/ISLAMABAD: 

Heavy rains continued to lash Sindh relentlessly on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 270, as authorities scrambled to cope with rising flood waters, and the UN prepared to launch a flash appeal for international assistance.

“At least 270 people have died so far because of falling roofs, drowning in flood waters and outbreak of diseases,” said Sajjad Haider Shah, a disaster management official in Sindh.

That figure is expected to rise though, given that 300,000 flood-affected people have so far reported with different illnesses at medical camps across the province, according to statistics released by the department on Tuesday.

Tuesday witnessed heavy spells of rains across the province with Karachi, Mithi, Dadu, Tandojam, Sakrand, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas, each receiving between 100 and 190 mm of rain.

Chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz said the figures were a 51-year record, and the rains would continue for the rest of the week.

Pakistan’s meteorological department says average rainfall across Sindh is three times normal, with the worst-affected districts of Badin, Mirpurkhas and Thar seeing eight times the usual levels.

This year’s rains, though concentrated in Sindh, have already affected 5.3 million people and 1.2 million homes in the province’s 23 districts, with 1.7 million acres of arable land inundated according to the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) initial assessment.

(Read: Floods worsen, 270 killed, says officials)

Over 12,000 heads of cattle have perished while millions have been displaced, added Sindh minister for livestock Abid Hussain Jatoi.

“Mirpurkhas, Tharparker, Badin and Khairpur are the worst affected districts for livestock,” he added.

UN flash appeal

The United Nations (UN) would launch a formal flash appeal for meeting the financial requirements of early relief phase in flood-affected areas of Sindh, possibly before the end of September, sources in the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) told The Express Tribune.

The UN has already launched a rapid needs assessment and officials from the organization and its allied agencies have completed visits to the affected districts.

“On the basis of rapid needs assessment, the UN will launch a flash appeal to seek global financial assistance for Pakistan,” confirmed the local UN spokesperson Ishrat Rizvi.

The rapid assessment report is expected to be completed within one week, she added.

Last year, the UN had made a $1.9 billion appeal for early relief and recovery phases. Against the overall appeal, around 70% pledges were materialised by international donors, Rizvi said.

The need for the flash appeal was triggered after the government declared that it would not be able to handle the catastrophe within its own limited resources.

This is the second flash appeal being launched by the UN, the first one issued after last year’s super floods which killed 2,000 people, left a fifth of the country under water and affected around 21 million people.

Local officials, however, say devastation in the province is worse than last year.

The UN’s World Food Programme agency is working to provide emergency supplies to half a million people while the United States said it is sending food aid for nearly 350,000 and medical assistance for about 500,000 people.

Inadequate response

Head of the prime minister’s committee on rain damage Qamar Zaman Kaira expressed his discontent over rescue and relief operations being carried out in rain-affected areas.

More than 5.5 million people have been affected in lower Sindh and the majority of the people are still stranded in their areas, he said while addressing a joint press conference at the Chief Minister House on Tuesday.

Admitting the inadequacy of the government’s response, Kaira said that “only 80,000 tents have been provided to the rain victims while the rest have been living without any shelter.”

“It has disappointed us,” he said, adding that the government has contacted tent manufacturing companies to provide an additional four to five thousand tents.

Separately, EAD officials said that the government can provide up to 93,000 tents while the country immediately needs another 100,000.

Kaira said that they would hold another meeting on Wednesday to finalise relief and rescue efforts.

Senators step up

Senate Deputy Chairman Jan Muhammad Jamali constituted two special committees, procurement and distribution headed by Senators Seemen Yusuf Siddiqui and Sardar Ali Khan respectively, to work for flood victims in Sindh.

(Read: Mitigating Misery – Senators urge special relief package)

Senator Haji Ghulam Ali was deputed to coordinate with the chambers of commerce across the country for fund raising while, the special committees will arrange for 6,000 bags containing food items on an emergency basis.

The senators raised an amount of Rs11.4 million on Tuesday while lawmakers also extended donations of Rs25,000 each from their next month salary. Some senators, however,  asked for the donation to be reduced to Rs10,000, citing non-affordability.

WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT BY HAFEEZ TUNIO IN KARACHI, ZAHID GISHKORI IN ISLAMABAD AND AGENCIES.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Talha
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:15PM

    Another disaster on the way

    God help this country.

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  • why not learn from past mistakes
    Sep 13, 2011 - 7:23PM

    why not learn from past mistakes

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  • Sep 13, 2011 - 9:37PM

    Did India release waters this time?

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  • Karachiwala
    Sep 13, 2011 - 10:56PM

    Don’t worry ZM and his fans are on the way to help……

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  • muhammad sultan
    Sep 13, 2011 - 11:57PM

    @TightChuddi:
    YES, India released water but in satlaj river, punjab.
    In sindh rain water coming from different districts through breaches in LBOD nullah have caused a huge problem…
    LBOD always prove harmful for residents of district badin as badin is at end of LBOD…
    peoples are on mercy of Allah here…
    may Allah almighty bless all displaced and affected peoples

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  • muhammad sultan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:00AM

    @Karachiwala:
    politics is dirty game which has destroyed pakistan mostly..
    these political parties are creating rift between peoples of pakistan on relegious, ethnic basis

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  • YanKee
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:49AM

    Pakistan called on the world Tuesday to speed up relief efforts after ..”
    The world and specially USA remembers helping pakistan during last year’s flood. USA had its marines evacuating people from flood and gave away hundreds of millions of dollar in aid. What did we get from pakisatn? “china is our best firend! death to infidel america.
    Yep, we will help you.

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  • amjad
    Sep 14, 2011 - 6:57AM

    Disasters happen all over the world, all the time. Countries, learn from these experiences, and prepare themselves for future. It is just not in the DNA to learn from anything. Hundreds or thousands will die, and few millions will be displaced. So what!!!

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  • H.A. Khan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 8:25AM

    Where is the President of the country?. He is still in UK

    PM is in Iran.

    The speaker of National Assembly who is from Badin is in Dubai.

    They should have flown back immediately to be the citizens who voted them in power.

    I hope people remember who helped them in hour of need while voting

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  • Maher
    Sep 14, 2011 - 11:54AM

    I think these political creatures always wait for some disaster, flood, earth quake so that they can go to other countries BEG them and deposit the money in their accounts. People who have suffered will not get even a PENNY.

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  • Sep 14, 2011 - 1:35PM

    May Allah shows His Infinite Mercy to all the affectees.

    However, if winter comes can spring be far behind – Percy Shelley

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  • antony
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:36PM

    ” if winter comes can spring be far behind – Percy Shelley” I would say in pakistan’s case if spring comes can monsoon be far behind –anonymous” and pakistan political leaders should use the aid money last year to good use. Now why you ask for His Infinite Mercy to the affectees ” Even a finite mercy of proper channelling of aid given by foreign countries to right use will save many innocent people lives.. Also can you explain why always the poor ,miserable,innocent children,women and men are affected the most and rich politicians who squander the aid money is let scot free by your Holy Upstairs neighbour! . I guess your answer is wicked men will suffer in hell but enjoy in this world whereas innocent children killed in floods suffer in earth and enjoy in heaven ?!! …What if your guess work is wrong and if all anyone has is this life in earth ?

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  • AFTAB UMRANI
    Sep 15, 2011 - 10:49PM

    This is not a time to find where is our President?????????? or Prime Minster ?????????? This is the time to help hopeless people of innocent sindh where is hopeful eyes waiting for your response it is my humbly request to all reader that kindly help as much as u can because “if we do little all together will more then u can plz participate in flood response activity thank u

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  • DR ALI MOSA
    Sep 18, 2011 - 2:22PM

    Dear Aftab u r 100% right

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  • Sep 19, 2011 - 7:35AM

    Antony , You have made a nice parody of Shelley’s . You are a poet in the making .
    However , the point at issue is that the Government is indifferent to the peoples’ problems whether the Karachi’ killings.or the havoc the floods have caused , the shortage of everything under the sun . It does not the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to say the Sind Government is incompetent . The whole pack of jokers are incompetent and rotten to the core.

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