KARAMPUR: More than a week has passed since the savage torrents ravaged Kashmore-Kandhkot, the first district in Sindh to face the wrath of the floods, but its residents are still waiting for a helping hand from the government or donors.
One of its towns, Karampur and the villages in its outskirts, were completely inundated and with no help arriving, its starving people headed towards the residence of Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, the federal minister for production.
Now most of the people there are seen gathered outside Bijarani House, waiting to receive food. “We have food stocks for another three days provided to us by Mir sahib (Bijarani). What will happen when we run out of that? There has been no assistance by the government or anyone else,” said Sahib Khan Chachar of Karampur.
“I am waiting for my turn to get a pack of food at Bijarani House,” said Qasim Dahlani from a neighbouring village while standing in a queue. “But now we are told that after a few days, the food distribution will stop as Mir sahib cannot cater to the requirements of thousands of villagers much longer,” he said.
Bijarani is helping the villagers, who also happen to be his vote bank, through the stocks of utility stores, which fall under his ministry. But the essential commodities supplied from utility stores will not last longer than another four days.
“We are trying our best using the available resources, but donors need to step in as well,” said Mansoor Ali Bijarani, the minister’s son, who is running relief activities in the area.
“We have snakes in the area, but no anti-venom vaccines are available here. There are no relief camps and people want to return to their areas, which is impossible as there is no shelter,” said an elderly Bhagyo.
The district coordination officer was not available to comment about relief efforts and conditions at camps. The villagers of Karampur were provided relief goods in air drops by three helicopters once, but they never returned after that.
Many have also moved to relief camps in others districts. The main bypass road from Shikarpur to Karampur was submerged and the only means of transportation left was a tractor connected with trawlers.
Many people of the area complain that the entire focus was on Sukkur and other districts, while the more devastated Karampur and Ghouspur were neglected.
No show by UN agencies
The Bijaranis also contacted the UN donor agencies, but no relief has been provided despite several promises. “I informed the UN agencies about the situation here and they assured me that they would help, but more than a week has passed and there has been no response by them yet,” Mansoor Bijarani claimed.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Fawad Hussain told The Express Tribune that it is difficult to carry out relief activities in Karampur because of the law and order situation prevailing in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2010.
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