Problems far from over for Balochistan villagers

Relief activities in flood-hit Sibi, Kohlu and Barkhan remained slow,with land routes and train services hampered.


Shahzad Baloch July 25, 2010

Relief activities in flood-hit Sibi, Kohlu and Barkhan remained slow on Saturday and land routes and train services were also suspended.

Thousands have been affected in Bala Nari, Talli, Baktiarabad, Thri Har, Kohlu and Barkhan and are facing immense difficulties due to insufficient relief goods, mainly food for survival.

“We are still waiting and stuck in flood water. Twelve people have died due to the floods so far but their bodies are yet to be buried,” Shafiq Mohammad Domki told The Express Tribune via telephone from Wazirabad village in Baktiarabad. He said around 150 people were trapped in Wazirabad and so far no rescue team had arrived.

Kohlu Deputy Commissioner Nasrullah Rind told reporters that relief goods provided by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) were not adequate for the two union councils. “Three hundred families have been affected and they are all living in relief camps but till now  just 100 tents and 200 wheat packets have been received,” he said, warning of disease outbreak.

Chairperson of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General (retd) Nadeem Ahmed also conducted an aerial survey of the affected districts but did not speak to the media.

PDMA director general Hassan Baloch conceded that too many areas were affected and they may not be able to reach all those affected. “Relief work is being done and the provincial government is sending trucks and helicopters loaded with relief items. On Saturday, 12 trucks with tents, medicines, goods and other necessary items were sent to Kohlu, Barkhan and Sibi,” he said. Contradicting claims of the local people, he said that 50,000 people had been affected.

In Dera Murad Jamali, a large number of people have started migrating to places that are on higher ground, following threats of flash floods that are moving towards Pat Feeder and Rabi Canal. Official sources said that if floods did hit the banks of these areas, the situation would further deteriorate. Earlier, 70 villages had been submerged near the Rabi Canal while Gahgi bandh had burst.

Waterborne diseases

A four-year-old girl Benazir and her older brother Shabbir Ahmed, six, died due to waterborne diseases in Khoti Khulari in Sibi, locals said.

However, health secretary Jalal Khan refuted reports saying there was no serious threat of outbreak of epidemics because doctors were available in all three districts. “Now, everyone who dies, the relatives blame it on waterborne diseases and other flood-related problems,” he told The Express Tribune. He said that medicines for snakebites and waterborne diseases had been dispatched to the flood-hit areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th,2010.

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