Refugees protest against being served rotten food

The people displaced by the flood in Muzaffargarh had planned to protest the government’s relief efforts.


Express August 11, 2010

The people displaced by the flood in Muzaffargarh had planned to protest the government’s relief efforts during the visit by the prime minister (PM) and the Punjab governor.

Both the dignitaries had originally planned to tour the flood-stricken district on Monday. However, their plans were cancelled. Some government officials were of the view that the tour had been cancelled after they were notified that the people displaced by the recent floods, were planning to protest.

On Tuesday, Salmaan Taseer, the Punjab Governor, visited Multan and areas of Muzaffargarh while Yousaf Raza Gilani visited Layyah.

According to the Daily Express correspondent, after the affectees received word that the PM and the Punjab governor were expected at the makeshift flood relief camp, they began a protest. They blocked the Muzaffargarh-Mianwali Road by burning tyres. The protesters also carried sticks. Throwing the rice that they are being fed on the ground, they said that while the rulers sit in their air-conditioned houses and offices and are busy visiting London, they – the hapless flood victims – are being given spoiled, foul-smelling rice.

No member of the district administration or police officer could be found at the scene of the demonstration. The demonstrators also hurled sticks at the vehicle belonging to a media team and tried to break the vehicle’s glass windows.

In a similar incident in Rajanpur, flood victims residing at a makeshift camp in a school were provided with spoiled food, after which scores of them fell ill. Refugees at the Rajanpur Girls Primary School accused the administration of providing them with rotten rice, the consumption of which caused many to fall ill. The refugees, including women, children and the elderly, protested by holding up the rice in dishes. The refugees said that they were not being provided with proper nutrition or health facilities by the government.

Meanwhile, floodwater continues to hit Muzaffargarh, with thousands of those affected, queuing up outside relief camps for food and other commodities. The Layyah-Muzaffargarh road has been closed completely after a breach developed in the Basti Taunsa-Panjnad Link canal.

Water is heading towards Muzaffargarh city and Sultan colony and will soon enter these areas if the canal breach is not repaired. A flood torrent from the River Indus is also passing from the western side of Muzaffargarh district. This comes after locals complained about the inadequate relief activities and a shortage of food and water.A battalion of Pakistan Army has reached Muzaffargarh, Rangpur, Talairi and Ganeshwa Canal to help relief efforts.

Thousands of people have been moved from Muzaffargarh and adjoining areas to Multan.

Multan:

Water flow at River Chenab stands at 265,000 cusecs and a flood torrent of 300,000 cusecs will gush into the river. The floodwater is expected to hit Multan in the next 48 hours and Head Panjnad in the next 72 hours.

Civil Defence has sought rescue boats from Pakistan Army after dozens of villages including Shujabad, Jalalpur Pirwala and Nawab areas sunk after water level in River Chenab rose.

Rahim Yar Khan:

The Guddu-Kashmoor Road has been disconnected from the rest of the area after a flood in the historical town of Bhong. Floodwaters entered the region at 8:00 pm on Monday and inundated more than one kilometre of the main road.

Due to the inundation of Bhong’s compressor station, the Sui Northern Gas (SNGPL) administration suspended supply from the Qadirpur gas field due to which the company is facing shortage of gas. The administration has already started load management in fertilizer factories, power plants, general industry and the CNG sector. These sectors will not be getting gas until the complete restoration of the Qadirpur gas field. The administration has requested consumers to adopt austerity in gas usage.

Sardar Akram Solangi told Daily Express that the volunteers had tried their best to save the area.

The dykes are being elevated, he said. More than 100,000 people have left the area so far because of the floods, Solangi added.

Irrigation Department officials have said that the main torrent of floodwater will enter Rahim Yaar Khan on Wednesday (today). It is expected to remain in the area for one week.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.

COMMENTS (1)

Muhammad Ishaq | 11 years ago | Reply I am Muhammad Ishaq Belong in Jalalpur pirwala Moza sheni maiani there are not a relief camp in this place
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