Overflowing LBOD sets off alarm bells in lower Sindh

Officials warn several towns to go under water if LBOD not breached near Badin


Sameer Mandhro September 14, 2022
Photo: ONLINE

BADIN/KARACHI:

The devastating floods, which rampaged upper and central parts of Sindh on the right bank of the Indus, set off alarm bells in the lower parts of the province on the left bank on Tuesday, where the main outfall drain swelled to a dangerous level and started overflowing.

Fear of flooding gripped the residents of scores of villages and small towns in southern districts of Sindh, locally called “Larr” region, as the Irrigation Department mulled over cutting open the banks of the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD).

Jhudo, a town in the Mirpurkhas district, and Hayat Khaskheli village in the Badin district are already under rainwater for the last two weeks. Now, people in several other areas have been told to evacuate.

The evacuation was ordered because of the possible cut in the LBOD by the Irrigation Department or a natural breech at any weak point. “I fear several areas will go under water in case the water does not get space,” Sindh Culture Minister Syed Sardar Shah warned.

Read: Flood losses estimated up to $20 billion

The floodwater coming from different districts, including Khairpur, Nawabshah, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas is discharged into the sea via Badin district. At present, thousands of families in Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Umerkot and Badin are already living on roadsides because of the floods.

For the last two weeks, the authorities had not been able to convince the residents on the both sides of RD 211 point to allow a cut for easing water pressure in the LBOD. So far, the authorities had not taken any decision about the point to cut the bank.

“A few thousands of acres of land and scattered population will be disturbed in Kaloi taluka of Tharparkar, if a cut is made on the left side of the LBOD,” a reliable source informed The Express Tribune. But he added: “It is not the technical issue but a political one.”

The source said that a powerful politician from that area was fiercely resisting the controlled breach in the LBOD on the left side because he wanted to save his voters and his agriculture land from flooding.

Residents of the Malkani town said that people had started moving out of the area but a majority was still undecided about the evacuation. “[Even] there is no clear position of the government either,” said Abdul Malik Malkani, a resident of Malkani.

Read: Guterres pitches for massive flood aid

Malkani indicated that the authorities wanted to make the cut at RD 211 – also known as Zero Point of the LBOD. Owing the persistent threat, authorities have asked the residents of Shadi Large town and adjacent areas near the Zero Point to evacuate.
“Authorities wanted to make a cut at RD 211 but residents staged a protest against it,” Malkani said. “It’s a political issue but [if the cut was made it] will destroy several villages and displace thousands of the families,” he added.

According to the latest update from the area, floodwater had submerged hundreds of villages in the Malkani Sharif, Saman Sarkar, Pir Bodlo and Pangrio union councils of Badin district after the water overflowed on the right bank drain due to severe pressure on weak banks.

An official confided to The Express Tribune that the officers of the Irrigation Department were certain that a breach would occur very soon. “They have informed the political leadership to make a cut at RD 211 before it creates havoc and uproots thousands of people,” he revealed.

The areas, which could be affected in case of breaches and overflowing water were identified Tando Jan Mohammad, Dighri and Kot Ghulam Mohammad of Mirpurkhas distrct, besides Pithoro, Samaro and Kunri of the Umerkot district and parts of Khipro in Sanghar district.

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