QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad has said that floods triggered by torrential rains have marooned almost 600,000 people in Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts.
The floods have caused at least 22 deaths, destroyed crops on 24,866 acres and swept away about 4,000 houses.
Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Sibi, Jhal Magsi and Kachi are the worst affected districts.
“Dera Allahyar, Dera Murad Jamali, Sohbatpur, Manjopur and Manjoshori are under two to six feet of water. Thousands of families are in distress,” the chief secretary told reporters at the Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s office after supervising the despatch of relief goods to the affected areas.
He said the government had sought assistance from the Army and the Frontier Corps to step up the pace of relief work.
Fateh Mohammad said he had asked his counterpart in Sindh not to divert water from Jacobabad towards Balochistan because it would aggravate the problems manifold. “We are in touch with the Sindh government to avoid more losses in Balochistan.”
The chief secretary called upon international organisations, the federal government and philanthropists to help the provincial administration in transportation of essential commodities to the flood-ravaged region.
He said all resources were being used to stop the spread of water-borne diseases and to meet shortage of food and drinking water.
Electricity supply to the main towns in Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts had been restored and efforts were afoot to repair the damaged roads.
“The irrigation department’s engineers are at work to plug breaches at 13 places,” Balochistan’s top bureaucrat said. Six army helicopters and 18 boats have been pressed in to move affected people to relief camps.
In reply to a question, he said the losses caused by floods in northern and southern Balochistan were so huge that the provincial government would not be able to cope with the disaster on its own.
He said the chief minister was coordinating the rescue operation by PDMA, the provincial government, the Army and the FC.
The Balochistan government has decided that every member of the provincial assembly will release Rs20 million out of the funds granted to him for the affected people, Fateh Mohammad added.
SCHOOLS CLOSED: All government schools in the five rain-hit districts of Balochistan have been closed for an indefinite period.
Schools in Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Jhal Magsi, Kachi and Sibi will reopen only after the situation returns to normality, a notification said.—APP