Flood-hit people criticise Sindh govt

Allege relief goods being distributed to those close to influential people


Our Correspondent September 20, 2022
Badar Bibi, 29, a flood victim who's ailing 6-year-old son died at the relief camp she and her family were taking refuge at, sits in the camp following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Sehwan, Pakistan September 9, 2022. REUTERS

HYDRABAD:

Although the threat of being deluged by rains or flood has dissipated in most parts of Sindh, the allegedly inadequate supply of the relief items and the perceived delay in draining water out of submerged areas have been provoking protests across the province. People are venting their anger against the government with protests taking place in all the disaster-hit districts.

"People here are starving," claims Talib Siyal, who led a protest in Padedan town of Naushehro Feroze, the district that received the highest rainfall in the province. "We have been living in this situation for one and a half months but no government functionary has reached out to us with proper aid."

The protesters said sometimes ration and Biryani are distributed but only to those who are close to area's influential people.

The residents of the flooded villages of Johi town of Dadu district complained at a protest that they have been marooned at their homes for the last three weeks but the government has not even bothered to send teams to check how many people are staying in submerged villages.

"We tried to contact Mukhtiarkar and assistant commissioner but no one has come so far," claimed Yousuf Mugheri.

He and other protesters said the only way to receive some aid is to bow down before the local feudal lords.

The displaced families of Sujawal Junejo taluka of Kambar-Shahdadkot, who are staying at a government girls primary school-based relief camp, told the local media that they are not receiving regular supplies of ration and water. They added that 30 families are staying at the camp but the authorities have failed to look after even such a small number of displaced people.

A protest was staged outside the office of Assistant Commissioner Naheed Mirani in Kambar-Shahdadkot in which the people chanted slogans against the official and her alleged poor relief response. "Instead of supplying the ration to our villages, we are given instructions over the phone to gather outside the AC office. But when we reach there with too much difficulty we don't get anything," claimed Ghulam Jan Brohi.

The affected people in Matiari district held a demonstration outside the office of deputy commissioner, decrying that they are neither provided ration nor the tents. "The DC is handing over the ration bags and tents to the local politicians of the ruling party instead of distributing them in a fair way among the affected people," alleged Naseer Memon. The protesters warned of taking this matter to the court if injustice continues.

Qaumi Awami Tehreek's president Ayaz Latif Palijo alleged that the ration bags, tents and mosquito nets are only supplied to the people who are close to the local ruling elites.

Drainage

The people have also started protesting against what they describe as the sluggish pace of draining rainwater out. A rally was taken out from Haqqani Colony to the press club in Benazirabad district. The participants chanted slogans against the local administration for keeping their neighbourhoods, roads and streets under sewage mixed with rainwater.

"The stagnant water is producing foul smell and people are falling ill," said Sarang Sindhu who led the protest. The residents of the villages in Dighri town of Mirpurkhas blocked Tando Ghulam Ali Road, complaining that their villages and agricultural fields have remained under water since early August but the authorities are not deliberately draining the water out.

In Bhiria city area of Naushehro Feroze the protesters, chanting slogans against the district administration and the provincial government, said almost a month has passed since it last rained but their neighbourhoods are still under water. They said the stagnant water is spreading malaria, gastro and other diseases.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2022.

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