No ‘relief’ from floods


Express August 02, 2010

Floods in Punjab continue to wreak havoc with the lives of thousands in the province.

In Sargodha, people have been forced to settle on the main roads after over 50 villages were flooded. Train services have also been suspended in Mianwali and Sargodha. Several colonies and villages in Kundaan, Jhugian Saidan, Jalalpur Katchi Wala, Kotla Saidan, Katchey Wala and Mehboob Colony have been completely inundated. Due to the unavailability of doctors and the administration’s inefficiency to devise an effective strategy to cope with the crisis, thousands do not have a roof over their heads for the night.

“We are waiting for help but so far all we have done is watch our homes drown. Now there is nowhere to go but sit on the road and wait to be rescued,” said Jalalpur Katchi Wala resident Sohail.

Flood victims from Pind Daden Khan have demanded that the Punjab Chief Minister announce an immediate relief package for the Tehsil, as floodwater has demolished thousands of homes and villages.

Taunsa:

In DG Khan’s Taunsa area more than four hundred houses have collapsed and thousands of people have become homeless. In Rajan pur, Tibbi Qaiserani and Taunsa another 74 villages have been submerged and bridges have broken down as thousands are stranded amid the flood water. In Tibbi, the Qaiserani Busti Azeem and Beet areas recently came under water after the Jhangi dyke broke. Over 54,820 people have been shifted to safer locations and Pakistan Army choppers and boats are conducting relief operations.

In Taunsa’s tehsils Nabi Shah and Tibbi Qaiserani, over 30 houses collapsed after a protective dyke broke. Two people died after they were drowned in the ensuing flood. Despite the high intensity flood in Taunsa and the death of two people, locals say that the administration has not initiated relief operations in the area. Locals protested and shouted slogans against the Taunsa district administration and appealed to the Punjab chief minister to visit the area and sack negligent officials.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif says the recent floods in the province are testing times. The chief minister said, “I vow to help those affected by the floods at all costs, even if I have to loose sleep.”

Layyah: In Layyah, the chief minister was speaking to the affectees and said that there hadn’t been such a severe flood in the area for over 50 years. He said that food, boats and helicopters were being provided to the affectees. Over 900,000 cusecs of water was released from the head Chashma in Layyah over the past two days and has now reached Taunsa. Hundreds of people have been rendered homeless in the flood and Busti Qazi has been wiped out. According to a flood centre 915,000 cusecs of water is currently passing through Layyah and Kahror Lal.

In Busti Qazi, 200 houses were inundated and six people died. The flood torrent has already reached the Taunsa barrage.

Multan: In Multan, the Chenab River is in high tide and people are being forced to leave their houses but are not receiving help. Near Multan 200,000 cusecs of water is flowing through River Chenab and Nawabpur, Muhammadpur TOta, Lagraial, Khairpur, Dehli, Phikhri, Panda Sandela and Amanpur have been inundated in the floods. People have not been provided with tents and are being asked to leave. Many are refusing to vacate their homes because there are is no alternative accommodation.

Rahim Yar Khan: People living in Munchan Bund, Super Bund and near the River Indus have been told to evacuate the area within 24 hours. Dykes are being constructed in the areas where 1.1 million cusecs of water is expected to move tomorrow. Over 19 relief camps have been set up and five platoons of the Pak Army along with boats and divers have reached Chachran Sharif, Ehsanpur and Jamldin Wali.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2010.

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