NAUSHAHRO FEROZE: More than 5,000 residents of around 15 villages marooned after flooding caused by a breach in the dyke of Nusrat canal at Rd-187 on Monday gathered near the site to protest against the local administration’s failure to provide them food, water and other essential facilities.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, their elders including Sachal Daher, Abdul Sattar Daher, Haroon Daher, Khan Mohammed Arejo and Shadi Khan Daher said that the 150-foot-wide breach had devastated 15 villages and hundreds of acres of land with standing crops, also washing away the cash, valuables, grain stocks and all other belongings of more than 5,000 people living in the area.
They acknowledged that the district administration and irrigation department helped the affected villagers plug the breach using heavy machinery and labourers and also shifted a few hundred people to safe places by boats and vehicles. However, they added, more than 5,000 men, women and children, as well as their livestock, marooned in the flooded villages were still waiting for food, drinking water and other essentials of life.
The village elders said that MPA Dr Abdul Sattar Rajper had sent relief supplies to them late on Monday evening but the quantity was not sufficient for such a large number of affected people. Since then, they added, no supplies had reached the area.
They said the affected people and animals were fighting for their survival, and appealed to the authorities concerned to take emergency measures in this regard and make arrangements for flushing out water from the vast area to rehabilitate them.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Dr Waseem Ali has said he was in constant touch with the irrigation secretary and Provincial Disaster Management Authority coordinator for a relief and rehabilitation operation.
A press statement issued here on Tuesday said that three relief camps had already been established in Malhar Khan, Ismail Panjabi and Chatto Khan Lashari villages where food and water was being made available to the affected people.
The Bhiriya City mukhtiarkar, when contacted, said that only 222 villagers could reach or be shifted to the camps during the last 24 hours. It was learnt that a number of women and children moved to other villages for a temporary stay at their relatives houses instead of relief camps.
KHAIRPUR: Irrigation Secretary Syed Zaheer Hyder Shah, along with Sukkur Commissioner Abbas Baloch, Khairpur Deputy Commissioner Fayyaz Hussain Abbasi and other officials on Tuesday inspected the Indus embankments and protective bunds at Ulra Jageer, Garhi Pathan, 4-Mile and 5-Mile in view of expected floods in the river, our correspondent Mansoor Mirani adds.
Superintendent Engineer Imtiaz Memon and other irrigation officials told them that the embankment strengthening work at Ulra Jageer and fortification of 4-Mile and 6-Mile dykes had been completed while further strengthening of bunds at several other points was under way as 200,000 cubic feet of stones were available with the department. He said as much quantity of stones was required.
The irrigation secretary directed the officials to ensure completion of all the work within the next 15 days and submit a report to him.
The secretary also ordered suspection of a darogha, posted at the Garhi Pathan embankment, for alleged negligence and warned that no one showing negligence in discharging his duty would be spared.
The Sukkur commissioner and Khairpur deputy commissioner informed the secretary that all arrangements including shifting of marooned people from the katcha areas to safe places in the face of an emergency had been completed. However, they said, the army’s assistance would be sought in case of massive flooding.
Later, speaking to the media, Irrigation Secretary Hyder Shah said that the river embankment at Qadirpur Shank and Madd in Ghotki district, Ulra Jageer and Sagiyoon in Khairpur district and at other points in Kotri were vulnerable to erosion but due attention was being paid to them with regard to the completion of the strengthening works.
Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2016