Nothing to go back to...

Over 200 people from flood zones in Muzaffargarh are set to go back to their home towns.


Express August 28, 2010

MUZAFFARGARH/ RAJANPUR: Over 200 people from flood zones in Muzaffargarh are set to go back to their home towns as flood waters have almost receded in their city.

According to a BBC Urdu report police officials have been harassing flood victims to return to their villages in several parts of southern Punjab.

People have complained that police officials uprooted their tents and told them to return home. “Our houses have been destroyed and we have nothing to go back to but we are being forced to return,” said a local, Faisal Kareem.

Thousands of flood affected people from Muzaffargarh, DG Khan and Rajanpur are currently seeking shelter in flood relief camps set up in and around Multan’s schools and colleges.

Most flood victims are being asked to return to their homes as waters have begun to recede in several districts. Scores of families who have no money to go back to their homes have been complaining that the establishment is forcing them to return to waste lands.

“There is nothing left of our homes and they want us to go back and live among rot and disease,” said Bahadur Kaleem, a Muzaffargarh resident.

During flood, Rajanpur residents Kher Muhammad lost his entire crop as well as his house. “I lost three of my sons and my family is now incomplete, they expect me to rebuild my life without money or family,” he said, rebuking the police officials who had turned him out of a relief camp.

Muhammad said that once he used to be the one to offer food to his neighbours and friends after the harvest. “Every Eid, my family and neighbours would gather at my house for good food but this year I don’t have a house and I don’t have any food,” he said.  Muhammad said that he used to own a large plot of land and was able to feed over 30 guests.

“The government is doing nothing for people like us, we are being sent back to die,” he said.

Flood victims have said that the government’s decision to send them back is ill-timed and lacks vision. Rajanpur resident Muhraj Bibi said that she used to have a home and a family but she lost her daughter and her husband in the floods. “Only my son and I are left now, he is only ten and we have to go back and build over from scratch. We have nothing. No money, no food and no clothes. How does the government expect us to survive?” she said.

Noor Muhammad, a Muzaffargarh resident said “They are sending us back to nothing and we don’t know what will happen. What if the floods come back next year, will all this happen all over again?” he asked.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2010.

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