SUKKUR: As the government’s apathy towards the misery of the people in flooded districts continues, the death toll for flood-related accidents climbs steadily. If an epidemic kicks in, the daily casualty rate could accelerate sharply.
Flood-related accidents have claimed the lives of at least five people in different parts of upper Sindh since Sunday. A five-year-old girl, Dua, was killed and her uncle, Ghulam Qadir Thaheem, was injured when the roof of their house in Family Line, Jacobabad, collapsed.
In Ghotki, three-year-old Mashooq Leghari was crushed when the wall of his house in Ibrahim Leghari village fell on him.
A four-year-old boy, Ali Mohammad Leghari, drowned in rainwater that had accumulated outside his house in Meeran Leghari village.
In another incident, a 45-year-old woman, Hayatan Jagirani, was electrocuted while she was washing clothes in Rajoo Jagirani, a village in Shikarpur.
In a separate incident, Umer Marwani died at a roadside camp at Tangwani Road. He had left Tangwani town with his family four days ago. His wife, Salamat Khatoon, claimed that Umer died of hunger. “Nobody is willing to take care of us,” she claimed.
Rainwater has been drained from Shikarpur city and life has gone back to normal for most of its residents. However, other parts of the Shikarpur district, including union council Jagan, Nabi Shah Wagan, Sultankot and Raheemabad, are still submerged. Even several important buildings, such as Shah Latif University, Women’s hospital and the district’s judicial complex, are still inundated.
The roads leading to many villages in the Shikarpur, Lakhi Ghulam Shah and Garhi Yasin talukas are inundated, making them impossible to access.
Hundreds of houses have collapsed, leaving thousands without shelter.
Farms are also submerged and growers are afraid that if the water is not drained within the next few days, the crops will be ruined. According to reports, between five and six feet of water is stagnant in Jagan, which is the district’s lowest lying area.
A large number of homeless people have set up makeshift shelters on roads while others have headed to relief camps established by their districts’ administrations. But the government’s effort to provide relief has been negligible and the marooned have become so pessimistic about its role that they have simply limited their demands to the removal of rainwater. Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that Rs5 million would be given to each rain-hit district, but this amount has yet to be distributed.
Shikarpur’s deputy commissioner, Dr Azhar Hussain, told The Express Tribune that pumps will be installed on Tuesday to drain water from all areas where it is stagnant. “We were providing cooked food to the displaced people and now we have also started distributing tents as well as one week’s worth of ration to them so that they can go back to their villages,” he said.
Around 1,750 tents have been handed out so far.
A day earlier, Dr Hussain told journalists that according to the first survey of the district completed on September 15, 22 people had died while 239 others were injured in Shikarpur. Around 16,104 houses have collapsed.
The deputy commissioner added that around 21,632 people are living in eight relief camps which have been set up in Shikarpur, Garhi Yasin, Khanpur and Lakhi Ghulam Shah talukas. The people living in the camps are being served cooked food twice.
With additional input from APP
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.