SUKKUR, Sept 10: Heavy rainfall over the past 24 hours devastated upper Sindh region bringing life to a complete standstill in urban areas and flooding agricultural lands in more than half of the province.
The fresh spell of rain that started on Sunday evening continued intermittently on Monday and broke 25-year record in seven districts — Sukkur, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Kandhkot-Kashmore, Khairpur and Naushahro Feroze — leaving, according to unofficial sources, more than 100 people dead and rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless. A large number of people were reported injured.
The sources claimed that 105 people were feared to have died in rain-related incidents reported from Sukkur, Jacobabad, Thull, Kandhkot, Kashmore, Khanpur Mahar, Ghotki, Daharki, Mirpur Mathelo, Rohri, Ali Wahan, Shikarpur and their adjoining areas over the past three days.
Official sources could not confirm the death toll, saying that they were in the process of compiling the data from far flung areas.
Sukkur Commissioner Inamullah Dharejo said that 195mm rain was recorded in the Sukkur region since Sept 9.
More than 70 houses collapsed in Jacobabad, where nine people were reported killed while 13 people were reported killed in Kandhkot and Kashmore and 12 in Thull, Tangwani and Mirpur Buriro. Another 13 people were killed in rain-related incidents reported from Sukkur city, Rohri and Ali Wahan.
Authorities in most districts have ordered closure of educational institutions indefinitely while a rain emergency remained in force on the orders of the Sindh chief minister.
Meanwhile, a shortage of blood, essential medicines and other medical equipment was felt at nearly all health facilities of upper Sindh as patients in large numbers started reaching there to seek emergency treatment.
Sources in Jacobabad, Kandhkot, Kashmore, Ghotki and Shikarpur districts told Dawn that no arrangements had so far been made by the district administrations or NGOs to provide shelter to hundreds of families rendered homeless due to rain devastation and flooding.
In Jacobabad, over 250 families have taken shelter at the local railway station after wading through three-four feet high water to reach there.
Another 150 families have taken refuge under the sheds of the Shikarpur railway station.
Similar was the situation at the Kandhkot and Bakhshapur railway stations where several hundreds of people have taken shelter after their settlements were inundated.
Rains and flooding also played havoc with electricity and telecommunication network as thousands of PTCL landlines went out of order in Sukkur, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Kandhkot, Kashmore and most parts of each district in upper Sindh remained without electricity soon after the Sunday night spell of rain began.
Cellpone networks, however, remained operational though most people could not benefit from it because they could not recharge their cellphones because of the absence of electricity, low voltage and unavailability of balance recharge facilities.
Life also came to a standstill in almost all district as no educational institution, bazaar, market, shop or business establishment was opened amid continuing rainfall.
Upper Sindh districts also experienced a shortage of drinking water owing to electricity suspension that rendered most pumping stations in the region inoperative.