Another spell of heavy rainfall adds to Kachho residents’ woes

Updated 18 Sep 2020

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WATER level in a village of the Kachho area continues to rise amid back-to-back spells of heavy rainfall in the Khirthar mountainous range over the last several weeks.—Dawn
WATER level in a village of the Kachho area continues to rise amid back-to-back spells of heavy rainfall in the Khirthar mountainous range over the last several weeks.—Dawn

DADU: Heavy rainfall in Khirthar range wreaked havoc once again in Kachho, which had already been ravaged by torrential rain, and cut off land link of more than 200 villages with Johi town on Wednesday.

The first spell of rainfall in Khirthar range on Aug 8 had proved a boon for people as it had recharged aquifers and filled natural dams but the second and third spells of heavy rain turned into a catastrophe.

The rain-induced flooding destroyed not only farmland and killed livestock but also damaged structural and non-structural properties which rendered people of Kachho marooned and disconnected from the outside world.

People had barely taken a sigh of relief after three weeks of rain and set themselves to repairing their mud-thatched houses for resettlement when the current spell of heavy rain on Wednesday threw up a fresh challenge.

Rainwater flow in natural drains Nai Gaaj, Nai Nali, Nai Suk and Nai Halili rose to 10 feet after the current spell, inundating 30 villages and washing away livestock and stocked grain in union councils of Sawaro, Chhinni, Drigh Bala, Tando Rahim Khan and Wahi Pandhi.

A 90-year-old resident of Haji Khan Rodhnani village said that a number of rain gauges had been installed in the area by British government for measurement of rain but after the inception of Pakistan, the governments did not pay any heed to maintaining the gauges and measuring the rain in the area.

He said that not to mention local people, even the government functionaries concerned had no knowledge of how many millimetres rain had fallen in the area which had destroyed farmland and houses.

“Our women and children have contracted malaria, typhoid, gastroenteritis and skin diseases in the wake of the rain mostly because of unavailability of hygienic food and safe drinking water,” said Yar Mohammad Khan of Moulvi Noor Mohammad village.

“We are forced to consume contaminated rainwater pooled in ponds which has caused waterborne diseases and majority of people in Kachho have fallen sick,” said Khalid Shahani of Chhinni village.

“This area frequently faces drought-like conditions but recent rainfall will ultimately prove to be more helpful for people of Kachho if rainwater is stored in natural dams,” said Haji Nadoo Jamali.

“This rainfall will help cultivation of Rabi crop, wheat and mustard seeds and contribute to provision of better livelihood to people in future,” said Ghulam Ali Khan Brohi, a resident of TR Khan.

“No officer of Dadu district administration had visited 300 villages in 11 union councils of Kachho since Aug 8, when the area had experienced its first heavy rainfall,” claimed Haji Nazeer Ahmed, an inhabitant of Fatoo Brohi village.

“Elected representatives and Sindh government functionaries have left them at the mercy of Allah as they are busy in visiting only flood-protective dyke near Johi,” said Sain Bux, a resident of Wahi Pandhi.

“Even after such a catastrophe has hit Kachho reg­ion, officials of Prov­incial Disaster Management Aut­hor­ity, National Disaster Management Authority, NGOs, Sindh and federal governments have not yet initiated rehabilitation work in Kachho while millions of rupees funds have been drawn by officers in the name of providing relief to rain-hit people,” said Nazeer Ahmed Shahani, a resident of Hote Khan Shahani village.

Dadu DHO Dr Zahid Hussain said that eight medical camps were set up at FP dyke and different places of Kachho after Aug 8 heavy rain and 12,000 people with different diseases were treated there. Irshad Memon, chief engineer of Sukkur Barrage, said that patrolling along FP dyke had been started. “All embankments are safe now because water level has reduced,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2020