Flash floods triggered by torrential rains have rendered around one million people in Balochistan homeless over the past week, without any relief in sight.
An aerial view of the worst-affected districts of the province presents a gloomy picture of urban and rural areas in the province, which have been submerged four to five feet deep in water. Crops and houses have been either partially or completely damaged by gushing hill torrents.
“Crops spread over one million acres of land have been ravaged by the current monsoonal floods which caused death of 90 people in Balochistan,” Federal Minister for Science and Technology Mir Chengez Khan Jamali told The Express Tribune.
However, an official estimate released for the first time on Friday confirmed the deaths of 16 people and injuries to 12 people in the province as a result of the floods.
Jamali said that around 10,000 animals have been swept away by the floods, while 50,000 stored wheat bags have been destroyed.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan Timo Pakkala, who recently visited the flood-hit areas of Pakistan, said: “The people affected are among the poorest and most vulnerable in Pakistan and require urgent humanitarian assistance.” He added that the United Nations stands ready to provide support through NDMA and PDMAs if required to supplement government assistance programmes. “This year’s floods again emphasise the importance of investing more resources in programmes that promote disaster risk reductions.”
Balochistan Home Secretary Naseebullah Khan said the local administration is unable to single-handedly cope with the natural disaster, adding that the army is struggling to rescue thousands of trapped children and women.
Jaffarabad, Naseerabad worst-hit areas
The districts of Naseerabad and Jaffarabad have been completely inundated and hundreds of thousands of people are left without any relief in Dera Murad Jamali.
Over 100,000 acres of crops have been ravaged in various villages in the districts, whereas over 220 government buildings (schools, hospitals, offices) have been destroyed in Zhob, Sherani, Dera Murad Jamali and Dera Allah Yar Khan.
According to Akbar Hussain Durrani, the focal person for the flood relief operation, 9,156 people had been affected, while 22 people were killed and 12 others wounded in Jaffarabad and Naseerabad districts. He told a press conference in Quetta that 1,654 houses had been completely destroyed, while 3,971 were partially damaged.
Meanwhile, director-general of PDMA Balochistan Tahir Munir said that flood victims in the province have not been provided sufficient relief due to a shortage of funds. The PDMA Balochistan only has funds of Rs1 billion and is yet to receive financial support from the federal government.
“The federal government appears to be a silent spectator,” said flood victim, Noor Jamali, who fled from Jhatpat tehsil of Jaffarabad district.
“I lost two kids, cattle, stored wheat and crops,” he told The Express Tribune while taking shelter at the Circuit House in Dera Murad Jamali.
Floods in Sindh
Strong rains have left 135 people dead and 300 injured in Sindh, according to initial reports available with The Express Tribune. However, PDMA Sindh has officially confirmed 95 deaths and 151 injuries so far.Deputy Coordination Officers of Kashmore and Jacobabad – the worst affected in Sindh – claimed that over 2 million people have been affected by the floods.
Over 40 deaths have so far been reported in the two districts, where 90% crops have been damaged, said PDMA director general Hashim Zaidi.
Around 22 people were killed and 87 have been injured in Shikarpur district.
NDMA’s performance questioned
Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Mir Ijaz Khan Jakhrani, who is monitoring flood relief activities in Jacobabad, questioned the NDMA’s performance in relief activities. “The NDMA is yet to deliver a single tent for flood victims,” he told The Express Tribune.
“We did not receive 2,500 tents as promised by the NDMA,” said PDMA Sindh DG Hashim Zaidi. “Waterborne diseases have become another problem for people as well as for their animals,” he added.(With additional reporting by Mohammad Zafar in Quetta)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.