SUKKUR / HYDERABAD: Floodwater began entering the city of Shahdadkot after its protective embankment was breached on Saturday, while more than 100 villages in its surroundings were also submerged. Ninety per cent of the city’s population has been evacuated, officials claimed.
As the situation assumed grim proportions, the relief commissioner of Sindh declared 19 districts of the province calamity-hit. People of these districts have suffered heavy losses including livestock, property and crops, a notification issued by the commissioner’s office said.
Shadadkot faced a flood threat as protective embankments have developed five to ten foot breaches on at least two points. A protective embankment had been made three kilometres outside the city, which developed a five foot long breach at Gul Hasan Brohi. This opening was repaired but a second breach occurred at Aari branch near Aitibar Khan Chandio. This 10 foot long breach was being repaired.
As the water gushed out from the embankment, the administration was in the middle of an effort to divert its course towards the Right Bank Outfall Drain.
While a majority of the Shahdadkot population has left the city, some family members have stayed back to safeguard their belongings. Women and children have been shifted to safe locations. Some have moved to other cities.
DPO Qambar Shahdadkot Azfar Mahar said that the city will be saved from the flood and 200 officials have been appointed to control the law and order situation.
Army, Rangers, navy and police teams are jointly doing rescue work at Garhi Khairo while the flood surge is heading towards Qubbo Saeed Khan, he said. Flood waters have also started entering areas near Kati Khosa near Tando Hafiz Shah.
Meanwhile, the Met office said that peak flood is likely to persist at downstream Kotri for another week and the situation will take at least a fortnight to return to normal.
Director-General of the Met Services Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry said: “We do not expect more significant downpour during the remaining days of the monsoon season.”
However, Dr Chaudhry warned that there might be a couple of more rain spells before mid-September.
Some officials at the Met office warned that the entire Thatta and Hyderabad districts might be inundated if the Arabian Sea, which is already in high tide pushed flood waters back.
“This can be a very serious problem… but it is too early to say anything. We have already warned the authorities to remain vigilant to avert any untoward situation,” one of the officials said.
Floods lashed Ghandakha Tehsil for the second time in two days, leaving the area in 10 to 12 feet of water. The area had been evacuated earlier.
According to reports, 40 villages have been completely washed away or damaged in recent flash foods.
On Saturday, two rescue helicopters were engaged to rescue marooned people who took shelter on higher grounds near Saifullah Magsi canal.
Two people drowned in floodwater and their bodies are reported to be missing in Ghandaka, officials added.
Meanwhile, six births took place in Goth Ghulam Mohammad near Police Chowki of Ghandaka. Methal Khan, father of one newborn, said he had decided to name his child ‘Saylab Khan.’ The flood situation is similar in Rojhan Jamali and Dera Allahyar where floodwaters have not receded and power supply and road communications remained disrupted.
In Jaffarabad, the Tambo protection bund was breached inundating villages include Kabola, Rajan Umrani, Haji Khan Umrani and Kehyazai Pandrani.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2010.
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