The district administration has failed to live up to the expectations of affected people, said Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Wednesday.
Speaking at a rain emergency meeting held at CM house, he called for coordinated and effective action to be taken to control the situation and provide immediate relief to the stricken families.
The chief minister felt that the people were not only suffering because of the rain, but also had to deal with mismanagement and inadequate arrangements made by the district administration.
“It is the responsibility of the district administrations, district coordination officers, and provincial heads of departments to expedite relief and rehabilitation process in rain affected areas,” he said.
He declared that the heavy rains in lower Sindh were a ‘disaster’ and caused big losses in six districts - Badin, Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar and Umerkot. About a million people have been badly affected and looked to the government to provide them with food and shelter.
The chief minister told the gathering that besides rations, tents, health care and shelter at relief camps, money has also been given to the DCOs of affected districts and they will be held accountable for how the money is spent. He asked for a daily performance report on how camps are being maintained.
He then moved on to the damages to crops and revenue. He asked the agriculture department to encourage the affected growers and zamindars to cultivate alternative crops such as pulses, fodder, sunflower and vegetables.
The rehabilitation department’s secretary and Provincial Disaster Management Authority director general, Pir Bux Jamali, briefed the members of the meeting about the extent of the damage.
Five talukas of Badin - Shaheed Fazul Rahu, Tando Bago, Talhar and Matli - have been the worst hit. A total of 239 relief camps have been established and house over 62,162 people. Two people have died while 198 have been injured, he added.
In Tando Muhammad Khan, Bulri Shah Karim, Tando Muhammad Khan and Tando Ghulam Haider talukas have been affected, eight people have died and nine injured. Their population of about 5,670 have moved into 63 relief camps.
Meanwhile, Jamali claims that the Jhudo, Digri, Mirpurkhas, Kot Ghulam Muhammad, HB Mari and Sindhri talukas in Mirpurkhas have flooded. The storm has left 14 people dead and 198 injured. The 17,257 who survived have left their waterlogged homes in favour of the 102 relief camps established in the district.
Finally in Tharparkar, four talukas - Mithi, Deplo, Chachro and Nangarparkar - were affected. Five people were killed and eight injured.
The irrigation minister and secretary also weighed in, highlighting the damage done to irrigation networks. Their message of doom included the fact that the Left Bank Outfall Drain is designed to contain rain of 43 millimetres (mm), whereas it rained more than 300mm. The pressure of discharge has crossed 10,000 cusecs leading to three breaches. They claimed to have plugged the breaches and are working at RD 359.
Seventy million rupees has been sent to Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan received Rs10 million, Tharparkar Rs5 million, Mirpurkhas Rs20 million, Umerkot Rs3 million, Tando Allahyar Rs2 million while another Rs3 million have gone Thatta’s way.
As for immediate relief, the meeting was told that 4,700 tents have been pitched while 4,324 family packets, 7,200 rice bags of 50 kilogrammes (kg) each, six suction pumps, 1,920 blankets, 100 water purification units, 100 mosquito sprays, 1,000 plastic mats, 300 jerry cans, 2,000 bags of 10 kg of flour, 120 50 kg each of sugar and lentils and 800 2.5 kg packs of ghee have been sent to Badin.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.