Death toll ratchets to 312 as waters enter Muzaffargarh

Flood heads to Sindh; fresh warnings issued for Guddu, Sukkur barrages.


Peer Muhammad/Owais Qarni September 16, 2014

MULTAN/ ISLAMABAD: As water entered Muzaffargarh city on Monday morning, the National Disaster Management Authority said the death toll due to floods has reached 312 in the country. While an estimated 2.3 million have been affected by the devastating floods, roughly 1.9 million acres of crops have also been damaged, the NDMA said.

After passing through Punjab, the floodwater is now moving towards Sindh and the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has issued a fresh flood flow forecast for Guddu and Sukkur Barrages on River Indus, according to which the Indus at Guddu and Sukkur may attain medium to high flood discharge ranging between 400,000 cusecs to 500,000 cusecs from tomorrow (Tuesday) until Thursday this week.

On Monday, all roads connecting the city to Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwaali, Multan and Layyah, as well as other sub-districts, were submerged. The water entered Muzaffargarh city after Taliri canal was breached completely due to the water pressure. The Muzaffargarh-Dera Ghazi Khan national highway was also submerged. The water has been decreasing at  Head Muhammad Wala and by Monday evening, the water level was at 412 feet, just three feet down from the limit of 415 feet.

An estimated 100 villages have been submerged in the last 24 hours in district Multan and one body was recovered in the Shujabad sub-district of Multan, where six relief camps were set up. The death toll so far after the water entered Multan division on Friday stands at 15. The water level at Trimmu headworks on Monday evening was 153,000 cusecs, 27,000 at Head Sidhnaayi and at Sher Shah dyke the water level stood at 394 feet, just one foot down from the limit of 395 feet.

The flow of water at Head Punjnad crossed 500,000 cusecs on Monday morning, indicating a very high pressure on all supporting dykes. In district Rajanpur, 10 villages were submerged and water from the River Indus also entered the home of a wanted gangster Chotu, who heads a gang in Dera Ghazi Khan division.

Former DCO Muzaffargarh Tahir Khursheed took command of relief activities after continuous protests over a reported lack of arrangements for the flood victims by the district government. Twenty-one protests were held against the provincial government at different spots over the absence of adequate food and shelter in Multan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Khanewal districts in the last 48 hours. More than 1,100 protestors taking shelter in the Government Post Graduate College Muzaffargarh protested on Sunday night due to lack of food for the last 24 hours.

Rising toll

The NDMA stated that 232 people have been killed in Punjab, 66 in AJK and 14 in Gilgit-Baltistan since September 4. The floods have also damaged 32,243 houses and affected 2,852 villages, the authority said. In AJK, as many as 66 people have been killed and 46,486 affected due to the heavy rains and flash floods. The floods have also damaged 2,731 houses and affected 2,048 acres of crops.

In Gilgit-Baltistan, 14 people have died and 1,976 affected. An estimated 127 villages were also affected. According to the PMD, isolated thundershowers are expected over Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore and D.G. Khan Divisions along with Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir.

As per PMD reports, the risk of high to very high flood level at Guddu and Sukkur has reduced due to hydrological conditions and the breaching of bunds between Qadirabad and Punjnad on River Chenab.

The government of Sindh has directed people living along River Indus to move to safer places including Larkana, Shikarpur, Kashmore-Kandhkot district.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2014.

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