SUKKUR: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Sunday said 52,000 cusecs of water has entered Sukkur Barrage and up to one million more cusecs is expected.
The Chief Minister urged the army to help Sindh prepare for possible flash floods in the province.
District level committees have been set up to deal with the preparations, while iIrrigation authorities have issued notices to people living in vulnerable areas and have asked them to evacuate.
WAPDA and PTCL have been told to provide emergency electricity and telephone connections to irrigation department camps set up at embankments.
Heavy machinery has also been made available at vulnerable embankments to deal with any breaches. The Pakistan Rangers Sindh also set up a flood relief center.
Army moves in for relief
Pakistan army has been sent in for rescue and relief works in interior part of the province.
Amry would be deployed in various areas of interior Sindh including Kandhkot, Larkana and Nowshehra-Feroz districts.
They have been equipped with water boats, life jackets and other rescue material to deal with emergency situations and rescue work.
The ISPR said army will be stationed at district headquarters and later sent to affected areas.
Updated from print edition (below)
As the biggest flash floods in 34 years rage towards Sindh, residents of Katcha Bunder in Sukkur refuse to budge.
Water is life, they said, we have nothing to fear.
Around 1,000,000 cusecs of water are expected to flow into Sukkur Barrage on August 7. Irrigation authorities have summoned the army and Rangers to help monitor the vulnerable areas and deal with any emergency that might erupt. Sukkur Barrage authorities have also issued notices to people living in the illegal settlement at the right bank of River Indus at Bunder Road, asking them to evacuate within two days for safety reasons.
However, the residents of around 10,000 huts and houses built at the bank right next to the river feel safe where they are.
As Shahzadi Mirani, Ghulam Haider Mirani, Ameeran, Hussain Bukhsh, Sabul and others told The Express Tribune, they had been living there for 50 years and had seen all the highs and lows of the river. “We would rather die than move out of our homes,” they said. What if the strong current washes their houses away?
Then we will wait for the river to go back and make our homes again, they replied serenely.
Vulnerable points in the districts
Areas declared vulnerable to flash floods include Farid Abad Bund in district Khairpur, Bakhri Loop Bund in district Naushahro Feroze, Left guide bank off Dadu-Moro bridge, New Mud Loop Bund in Nawabshah, (Saifullah Magsi) S M Bund in Saeedabad, Matiyari Bund in Bhanot and Katcha Bunder in Sukkur.
Preparations for expected floods
Officials said that 1,000,000 cusecs water are expected to reach Guddu Barrage on the midnight of August 3, and will flow on to Sukkur Barrage and then pass through Kotri Barrage on August 10.
Executive engineer Sukkur barrage Zareef Khero told The Express Tribune on Saturday that a meeting was held at his office to review the preparations. It was decided that all villages in the katcha area will be evacuated by August 4. Fourteen camps have been set up to accommodate the displaced people. Four control rooms are also being set up to monitor water levels at all times.
Meanwhile, the leaves of all irrigation and health department staff have been cancelled. All government officers of the district have been asked not to leave the district headquarters without prior permission. Wapda and PTCL were asked to provide emergency electricity and telephone connections to the irrigation department’s camps set up at the embankments.
Police and Rangers have been told to monitor vulnerable embankments round the clock.
According to engineer Khero, gates to all canals forking off the Sukkur Barrage will be closed down. Meanwhile, all 66 gates of the barrage will be opened up so that the flood water can flow downstream. Heavy machinery has also made available at vulnerable embankments so as to deal with any breaches that might occur.
Many of these protective embankments have eroded over time because of low water levels. The engineer explained that people kept stealing mud from the banks, which also weakens these embankments.
The official maintained that the situation was under control and expressed his optimism that the flash flood would pass through all three barrages of Sindh without causing much damage.
The Sindh government was informed two days ago about flooding and rising levels in the Tarbela and Mangla dams. The two rivers that Punjab uses for irrigation, the Chenab and Jehlum, also have low levels of flooding. When Sindh’s apparatus met, officials assessed that about 900,000 cusecs of water will be flowing this way and precautionary measures will have to be taken.
The Pakistan Rangers Sindh has set up a flood relief centre (Tel: 021 992 052 85 to 7).
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2010.
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