Prospects of some easing in the floods were raised on Wednesday as the meteorological department said that there will not be any significant rains in the coming four to five days.
However, a peak flood is expected to persist between Guddu and Kotri over the next two to three days, the department’s director-general Qamaruz- Zaman warned at a news conference.
At the same time, he said there will be a normal flow of rivers upstream in Sukkur. From downstream Kotri, the floods will continue to be exceptionally high for at least seven more days, he added.
In recordings taken late on Wednesday night, the flow at Guddu decreased and the upstream flow was recorded 1,001,764 cusecs while the downstream flow was 1,001,226 cusecs. This has reduced pressure at Sukkur which had an upstream flow of 1,007,644 cusecs and downstream of 974,489 cusecs. The decrease in water levels at the Sukkur Barrage has relieved both villagers and officials.
“The decision to breach Ali Wahan is withdrawn. There is no need to breach the canal as the situation is settling down,” said chief engineer Sukkur. He said that the government had permitted them to make the cuts but it was preferred that the irrigation department should wait until the situation gets critical.
“I think the media created an unnecessary hype about the situation which was not that bad. The irrigation department has worked day and night to make sure that Ali Wahan bund does not need to be cut,” said District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sukkur Jam Inaullah Dharejo, who is also the brother of the irrigation minister.
While talking to local journalists, he said it was due to the efforts of the irrigation department that a dangerous situation had been averted.
However, locals feel other powers saved them. Sufi saints have fought for us, said a resident. “Baba’s special prayers have worked and it is the mystic miracles of Saeen Sadruddin Shah Badshah that the water did not exceed its level,” he added.
Meanwhile, the road at Jacobabad bypass was cut to save the city and thus the water after inundating Usta Mohammad town started heading towards Garhi Khairo. In a bid to save the town, army personnel along with local villagers worked to change the direction of the waters. In district Shikarpur, Sultankot town is completely under water and all residents have moved to safe places.
Furthermore, the 20 feet wide breach, which had occurred in the river Indus embankment near the Dadu-Moro Bridge on Monday has widened to 75 feet.
Flash floods entered into the downstream of Usta Mohammad and Ghandaka, destroying 1,000 mud houses and rendering thousands of people homeless. However, Usta Mohammad city remained safe because of a protection dyke.
It is learnt that floods further destroyed life and property of people in low-lying areas of Usta Mohammad and Ghandaka where road link and communication system have been severely disrupted. Kot Magsi and Bari Jah area of Jhal Magsi were also affected in recent floods.
Meanwhile, Kirthar Canal breached from six places and Saifullah Magsi Canal breached from five places causing flash floods downstream. Fresh breaches were reported in Begari Canal aggravating the flood situation in Ghari Khairo and surrounding areas.
Thousands of people of Ghandaka took shelter in the open from Ghari Khairo to Saifullah Magsi Canal. Due to the high floodwaters, they were unable to move out of the area and get relief. “Thousands of people are living in the open without any food and shelter from the government,” a Ghandaka-based journalist said, adding that people are still stranded in some places.
In a visit to the flood-affected areas, MNA Marvi Memon said that dead carcasses of animals pose a serious threat of outbreak of epidemics. Addressing a news conference at Quetta Press Club, she said she will demand a judicial inquiry about the diverting the flood water from Sindh to Balochistan. “The relief goods are being distributed on a political basis and victims are not satisfied with the rescue and relief operations,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2010.
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