Flood update: Thar and Badin fear another mass evacuation

LBOD is carrying water four to five times its capacity.

Z Ali September 07, 2011
Flood update: Thar and Badin fear another mass evacuation

HYDERABAD: The Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) threatens to overflow in Bhatoro and Kalohi union councils in Thar. The army has been deployed at Zero Point in Naukot to respond to any such outcome.

To the south in Badin, the district administration is preparing for a mass evacuation from three of the five tehsils, fearing an overflow from the LBOD. “We have written to the Badin, Mirpurkhas and Tharparker districts to prepare for any consequence and seek the help of the army for rescue if the LBOD overflows,” said Ehsan Laghari, the managing director of the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA).

The drain already carries water four to five times greater than its capacity. “It is already slightly overflowing between Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas and Badin,” said Leghari. He told The Express Tribune that quicksands have developed along the drain and canal embankments. This is why heavy machinery cannot be used to plug the breaches. “It is the highest recorded rain since 1964,” Laghari said. This is why areas like Benazirabad, former Nawabshah, which are not connected with the LBOD are also affected by the flash floods.

On Wednesday, spillover from the drain deluged Shadi Large-Pangrio Bridge, Badin-Naukot Road and hundreds of small and large villages. The Guni-Phuleli Drain also overflowed and flooded the Badin-Karachi, Badin-Matli.

Sohail Mirza of the Water Sector Improvement Program (WSIP) and a geographical expert foresees the displacement of at least 60 per cent of the 1.8 million people of the district, if the situation continues. “Tando Bhago, Badin and Shaheed Fazil Rahu Tehsil will go under water completely,” he said. Draining rainwater from these areas will take up to 45 days after the rains stop.

National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza renewed appeals to the United Nations, international relief agencies and the public, for donations. However, Badin DCO Kazim Hussain Jatoi downplayed the fears of a spillover from the outfall drain. Around 3,000 people were rescued by the Pakistan Army and Navy on Wednesday from marooned areas.

The second rain spell, which began on August 30, intensified with 333 (mm) in Tharparkar, 90 mm in Badin, 62 mm in Mirpurkhas and 25 mm in Nawabshah during less than 48 hours.
Over four feet water accumulated in Mithi and Naukot tehsils of Tharparkar, leading to another evacuation in less than a month.

The urban and commercial areas of Islamkot and Diplo tehsil were also flooded. In Sanghar thousands of people are still waiting for help. The district government will begin the distribution of ration bags from Friday, according to MPA Abdul Sattar Rajpar.

Rajpar, said that the district government will only be able to distribute 6,000 ration bags from its own resources to the 1.5 million who are in need of government support. Rajpar warned that if the government does not respond to their request, they will have to protest like others. In Hyderabad although the three urban tehsils of the district are safe, villages in rural Hyderabad have been inundated.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th,  2011.


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