KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, presiding over a rain emergency and relief meeting here on Thursday, decided to constitute district-level committees comprising the deputy commissioners concerned, representatives from Corps-V and engineering corps, local government, PDMA, and local representatives to start relief, rescue and survey, and damage assessment right from deh level so that proper relief could be provided to the rain-affected people.
“The purpose is to reach the affected families and support them in a transparent, proper and decent way,” the CM said, and added that the committees being formed at the district level would not only work for relief, rescue, survey, early rehabilitation and damage assessment, but would also procure all the required material and goods, right from tents, mosquito nets, food items, medicines, machinery and other such things.
It was pointed out that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) had distributed 80,000 tents and placed an order for another 180,000 tents but a requirement of one million tents was generated by district administrations.
The chief minister said that River Indus was in high flood, Guddu Barrage had 517,392 cusecs upstream and downstream flows, Sukkur Barrage 597,753 and Kotri 297,178 cusecs flows. “Comparatively embankments of our rivers are in better position than the flood situation of 2010 and 2011 but even then, various vulnerable points are under pressure,” he said.
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If the mountain range of Punjab received more rain, the flows in the river would increase thereby exerting more pressure on the bunds, he said.
Mr Shah said that the people living in the riverine belts had vacated their houses and started lining the embankment of the river but when the bunds come under more pressure, they migrated further to the main roads.
He added that he had travelled across the province and found that thousands of people had set up makeshift cottages and tents along the main roads.
It was decided that tent cities be set up at the union council level so that people could be shifted to one place which would be easier for the administration to provide them with all necessary facilities. It was also decided that tents be given to people separately.
The chief minister said that the Crops-V would also help the district administration in the distribution of ration bags and other materials.
The issue of disposal of rainwater from roads and streets in cities and towns also came under discussion at the meeting.
It was informed that since the nearby canals/branches were flowing at their maximum capacity, they could not carry/accept more rainwater in natural gravity.
The meeting decided that the district administration would use diesel engines and electricity to pump out rainwater for which necessary machinery would be provided to them on an emergency basis.
PDMA officials told the meeting that they had already provided dewatering machines, pumping machines and generators to the officials concerned.
The chief minister concluding the meeting said that the survey of the collapsed houses, washed away crops and perished cattle heads would help the government prepare a plan to rehabilitate the affected people.
CM, UN official discuss calamity
Meanwhile, the chief minister and the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan Julien Harneis at a meeting in the CM House discussed the overall devastation by downpour and the requirement of humanitarian aid in the affected areas.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, chairman of P&D Hassan Naqvi, CM’s principal secretary Fayaz Jatoi, local government secretary Najam Shah and rehabilitation secretary Asif Memon while the UN official was assisted by Imran Leghari.
The chief minister told the visiting UN coordinator that heavy rains had rendered a great portion of Sindh’s population displaced.
“Those who have lost their houses need tents to live in but the tents were not available in the market,” he said, and added that he had requested consuls general of Iran and other countries to help procure tents.
The UN official said that he was going to visit some affected districts of the province to assess the losses and damage caused to the people and their needs. He said his agency would help out the affected people.
The chief minister said that his government had mobilised all the resources to rescue people in the first phase.
“We have set up relief camps where we are providing them food and set up free medical camps for the affected people,” he said, adding that the people, particularly women and children, living in camps needed nutritional supplements, water purification tablets and water filtration pumps.
The UN official said that they would assess the situation speedily and convey the people’s requirements to the agency to ensure provision of assistance at the earliest.
The CM thanked him for his support and response.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2022