Balochistan flood rescue efforts falter

MNAs demand calamity-hit status for province

Syed Ali Shah July 27, 2022
APP file photo


Flash floods unleashed by heavy rainfall continued to ravage through Balochistan on Wednesday as authorities in Lasbela and Magsi districts failed to rescue those marooned in the low-lying, fending for themselves.

With the death toll touching 106 and skies likely to open up with more ferocious rains on Thursday, people in the flood-hit areas stranded due to the washing away of bridges and roads still await rescue.

Although Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo directed the authorities to airlift the stranded people, the helicopter could manage to evacuate only a handful of people as its efforts to reach more marooned people could not fructify owing to bad weather.

Meanwhile, the people have called out the ill-prepared infrastructure, lamenting that the floods have badly exposed the capacity of disaster management authorities to rescue them in the hour of trial.
"No helicopter no rescue worker,” a young man cried for help in a video widely shared on social media.

The man said a child died after the entire area was inundated by a deluge of rain, complaining no aid has been sent for the last three days.

The flood-hit people have made passionate appeals to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to expedite relief work and evacuate stranded people.

Ilyas Jamot, a resident of Bela complained that no official of the government and rescue worker has come to their aid. He said his entire family including women and children have taken refuge at the edge of floods and some of them are at the top of a hut-like house.

Thus far, neither the chief minister nor any provincial minister has visited the floods that affected the people of Lasbela and Magsi.

Although the chief minister or the chief secretary of Balochistan had to reach the flooded Lasbela district to personally monitor and review the ongoing relief and rescue operation. The government functionaries based in Quetta prefered to issue repeated statements to the press in Quetta, the provincial capital rather than going towards the spot.

Hundreds of passengers travelling on the Quetta-Karachi highway have taken refuge at hotels located on the highway.

"Hotel owners are charging exorbitant prices," Muhammad Arif, a passenger from Quetta told The Express Tribune via telephone. The plight of passengers is miserable here, he said.

In Islamabad, Lawmakers in the National Assembly on Wednesday demanded of the federal government to declare Balochistan a calamity-hit province due to human and property losses caused by the ongoing torrential rains.

Read more: Balochistan rain death toll hits 102

Speaking on a point of order, MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi said that different areas of Balochistan were badly affected due to flash floods. He said that a large number of people were stranded due to flash flood and there was a need for immediately expediting the ongoing rescue and relief operations.

Aslam Bhootani said that many areas, including Lasbela, were the worst-affected due to flash flood. He said he had talked to the communications minister, who assured him of reconstructing the main Hub Bridge, which connected Sindh and Balochistan.

In Lasbela district, 100% safety embankments had breached. There was also shortage of tents, Bhootani said. He also demanded of the Balochistan chief minister to send tents as people were sitting in open spaces.

He added that the security forces and other departments concerned were also busy in rescue and relief operations. "The federal government should announce a special relief package for Balochistan and Lasbela flood affectees," he said.

Dr Shahnaz Baloch said that the whole of Balochistan was affected due to flash floods. Balochistan should be declared calamity-hit province, she demanded. Sardar Riaz Mazari said that maximum relief should be given to his constituency Rajanpur as it was also badly affected due to recent rains and floods.

Science and Technology Minister Syed Aminul Haq said that people of Karachi were also badly affected by the recent torrential rains. Chief Minister and ministers were present on the spot but Karachi infrastructure was totally damaged, he said.


He added that the K-Electric was minting money from the people but not resolving their problems. He urged that Karachi should also be declared as calamity-hit city. He demanded a relief package for Karachi and Hyderabad.

Syed Mahmood Shah said that Balochistan and Sindh were badly affected by the flash flood and rains. He said that bridges connecting Jhal Magsi and Lasbella were washed away in the flood. He demanded of the federal government to announce special relief package and declared Balochistan calamity-hit.

Syed Javed Shah said that rains affected many areas. He said that 80% date crops in Khairpur, Sindh, were badly affected due to recent rains. Dr Ramesh Kumar said that unfortunately rain brought hardships in the country.

He also proposed that Minority Day should be observed between August 11 and 14 in Parliament House. Pakistan should be put on right directions, he said.

Relief operations in Rajanpur

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has said that relief and rescue operation was underway as 60 places have been affected by flood in Rajanpur district

In a statement, it said that eight relief camps have been set up by the district administration for the flood victims as at current, 217 people from 26 families were shifted to the relief camps of Rajanpur.

No loss of life was reported so far due to flood, it added.

Also, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted more rain-wind and thundershowers in upper and central Punjab, Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, north and eastern Balochistan, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan on Thursday.


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