DADU: Pakistan Army teams rushed to the FP flood protective bund and started a major operation in the Kachho belt area to rescue several thousand men, women and children marooned across the vast region in the west of Dadu district.
The human tragedy unfolded after what the local people termed “a record-breaking hill torrent” washed away mud- and thatched houses and swept away cattle heads, crops, and all structures in 400 villages located along its course.
The region has been experiencing constant heavy rainfall for three days that triggered hill torrent from the Khirthar mountain range.
The deluge ravaged almost all villages along its course and swept away villagers’ food and water stocks, besides all their household articles, belongings and valuables.
All roads in the region came under many feet high floodwater which was passing through the vast area constantly. Residents of all UCs of the region have lost road and telephone communication with the rest of the province, prompting the district administration to make a frantic call to the provincial and federal governments to provide helicopters for the rescue of marooned families.
Soon after arriving at heavily damaged FP protective bund (dyke), the army teams rescued 16 people found having climbed up trees in different villages to save their lives. They were taken to a safe area by army boats.
Senior army officials held a meeting with Dadu district administration at the FP bund and chalked out a strategy to rescue thousands of marooned people.
Hyderabad Commissioner Abbas Baloch, Dadu Deputy Commissioner Raja Shahzaman Khuhro, SSP Dr Farrukh Raza Malik and senior irrigation officials attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, the district administration and irrigation department have employed heavy machinery and arranged for stone pitching material as well as manpower to plug breaches caused by floodwater at FB bund and scores of other places in the affected region.
Major breaches were reported to have taken place at FP bund — a major portion of which has been eroded by deluge — and two other places between RD-40 and RD 44, near Johi town. Flooding caused by the breaches has swept away many villages and was posing a serious threat to thickly populated towns and villages.
With the start of the relief and rescue operation, a warning was issued to the residents of 35 villages near Johi town to immediately move to safe areas as gushing deluge from breaches in the FP bund could hit the area any time.
The most vulnerable them are Abdul Rehman Jamali, Khair Mohammad Jamali, Punhal Jamali, Panah Rodhnani, Razi Khan Rodhnani, Noor Mohammad Rodhnani, Mohammad Khan Rodhnani, Esso Rodhnani, Umer Jamali and Kamal Khan villages, according to the relevant district officials.
Assistant Commissioner Mohammad Ali Baloch said that the dyke was crumbling due to multiple ruptures and residents of the villages should better vacate the area on their own if they could.
Soon after the warning was aired, people were seen rushing to safety along with their essential belongings and cattle heads.
People living around Nai Gaaj reservoir and Johi branch also faced an alarming situation when floodwater was flowing into Johi branch at Mile No-50, near Johi town, and the level in the water course was rapidly touching the danger point.
Panic and fear reigned supreme in Johi town as caravans of displaced villagers were seen moving from one place to the other.
Some of the extremely anxious villagers were heard saying that thousands of men and women would have to pass sleepless nights now.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020