LARKANA: Fifty villages around Larkana were inundated as the flood passed through. Four points were declared vulnerable in the district.
They include Nusrat loop bund near Naudero, Aqil Aghani bund which is around 15 kilometres from Larkana, Naubad Manglani bund near the Larkana-Khairpur bridge and the Gajidero bund.
Relief activities are underway and so far 16 camps have been set up, however, 10,000 people in the kachcha areas are still stranded.
According to Larkana DCO Hasan Naqvi, more than 8,000 people have been sent to safer areas. Many families in the kachcha areas refused to move because they felt that they could not leave their homes and assets behind while some of these families have left to find shelter with their relatives.
Some of the relief camps set up at vulnerable areas are deserted with nobody but the camp management.
The people came but they have left themselves to live with their relatives, authorities said.
Meanwhile, another area hit by the flood was Dokri and Bakrani, where more than 300 families were stuck in the kachcha area with water all around. They were rescued on boats by the district government and the army.
The effect of the flood is far reaching since some families have managed to evacuate the dangerous sites but there are many who were still left behind and there is no record of what happened to them.
Residents of Dokri complained that they had not been informed of the flood in advance and they were caught completely off guard.
The vulnerable areas were also visited by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, who was accompanied by the law minister, Ayaz Soomro, on Wednesday.
When water levels in Sukkur Barrage continued to rise threateningly, seven more doors were opened on Monday night to release some of the pressure. As a result seven different canals across the district were suddenly flooded with gushing water that raced towards the fields and villages that these canals irrigated.
Villagers at the receiving end of these canals were suddenly threatened with water that would have been so welcome a couple of months ago, when the rice harvest was continuously being delayed due to a water shortage. However, according to the law, these canals should not be carrying more than one foot of water but when the doors were opened, Rice Canal and Dadu Canal among others were suddenly carrying around 7,000 cusecs of water.
The impending flood led to evacuation from several villages in the night and panic spread to the city since the Rice and Dadu canals pass through main Larkana.
The chaos generated by this decision led to the authorities to retract it and close the gates on Tuesday morning.
The decision was criticised by irrigation engineers Noor Shah and Amjad Dahar, who said that all relief and monitoring activities were concentrated along the path of the River Indus. So there were no army and Rangers personnel waiting on those villages who are located along these canals. When the flood is directed towards these villages, they are under threat of being inundated without any hope of rescue.
“The decision was completely wrong,” lamented Shah. “Thank God the management was able to realise this in time.”
According to residents in Larkana city, non-government organisations are conspicuous by their absence in the area. Camps have been set up by the government, the Red Crescent society, the National Commission for Human Development and the army. Students too are making their presence felt and relief activities are being carried out by Szabist and other district colleges.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2010.
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