Unsung heroes at the helm of rescue efforts

Citizens risk their lives to help flood victims in Balochistan

Syed Ali Shah August 28, 2022
A satellite dish is used to move children through floodwaters in Jaffarabad, Balochistan. PHOTO: AFP



‘Everyday heroes’ have emerged in the country’s worst flash flooding amid scenes of destruction and peril, saving the lives of their fellow citizens while ending their own.

In flood-battered Balochistan where thousands of people are battling all odds to survive, scenes of heroism and levity have been witnessed, many of which were shared widely on social media.

In one such instance last week, a young man from Quetta's Sariab Road area sacrificed his life while saving a minor boy who drowned in a well.

Mir Balach Nowsherwani went down inside the flooded well to rescue the boy. The boy was collecting garbage when the tragedy struck. Unfortunately, both of them lost their lives during the rescue efforts.

"Balach did not come back," Bilawal Nowshwerwani, a cousin of Balach told The Express Tribune as he burst into tears. He said that Balach sacrificed his life to save the life of the minor boy.

The bravery of the two young men prompted Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Quddus Bizenjo to announce rewards and jobs for both.

The provincial chief offered jobs to the two young men in the PDMA and a reward of Rs0.2 million for them. The chief minister expressed grief and sorrow over the demise of precious human lives at Sariab and appreciated the two young men for their bravery.

In Loralai, Haji Attaullah Luni put his life in danger and rescued five people stranded in the middle of the floods in a vehicle.

Meanwhile, Daulat Tareen in Pishin saved the lives of two children and three men, braving the merciless floods.

The scale of the devastation is extremely in Balochistan, posing a major challenge to the provincial government to conduct a fair and accurate survey to assess the damages.

In view of the massive destruction, the Balochistan government has called the Army to the worst-hit areas of the province to rescue the people. The military has evacuated around six thousand people to safer places in Quetta and rescued 12 stranded people through army helicopters in bad weather conditions.

The damages caused by floods and torrential rains have further compounded the problems of the people already lagging behind in all socio-economic indicators as compared to other provinces of Pakistan.

Rains and floods have affected 26 out of a total of 34 districts of Balochistan. Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Lasbela, Jhal Magsi, Quetta, Killa Abdullah, Killa Saifullah, and Barkhan have been hit hard by the flash floods unleashed by heavy rainfall.

Rains-related incidents claimed 238 lives in all affected districts. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority data reveals that 71 children are also among the dead.

Most of the victims were from poor and marginalised families living in mud-walled houses, which collapsed after heavy rainfall.

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