Search and rescue: TM Khan people refuse to leave homes

District administration faced with protests as they have no supplies to help.


Shaheryar Mirza August 18, 2011

TM KHAN: Rescue efforts are underway and the army is still moving from house to house in boats trying to extricate stranded people. Some people, however, refuse to leave their homes. It is not that they do not understand the scale of the damage - 28,000 houses have been destroyed - they simply refuse to trust the rescue workers. They do not believe that they will be housed and looked after once they abandon their homes.

Considering that there are only 5,000 people registered at the 63 relief camps compared to the tens of thousands who have been affected, their apprehensions may not be completely unfounded.

So far there has been no outbreak of illnesses at the relief camps, but the threat of cholera and diarrhoea is there. The camps are equipped to deal with a few coughs and colds, but should an epidemic break out, the situation would get a lot worse. Though they have enough supplies for the time being, they are still waiting for the medicines to trickle down from the provincial government.

On Thursday morning there was a protest at the DCO’s office as flood survivors demanded rations. The office is still waiting for supplies to come in.

In order to give you an idea of the terrain, of the 400,000 acres of Tando Mohammad Khan, 70% is rural. Almost all of this land was farmed but now, with the rains, almost all of the crops being grown here have been destroyed.

Delicate crops such as cotton and rice never stood a chance, but the farmers hoped that the sugarcane at least would survive. Right now, the rough estimate of damages stands at Rs2.2 billion.

At the moment, apart from securing the population, getting rid of the water is a priority. However, the rescue workers have hit a snag when it comes to drainage as they do not have anywhere to send the water - everything is submerged.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.

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