Authorities scramble to save Dadu city, Bhan Syedabad from flood threat

Published September 13, 2022
<p>This photo shows an aerial view of the flood-affected areas of Jhandho, Sindh. — DawnNewsTV</p>

This photo shows an aerial view of the flood-affected areas of Jhandho, Sindh. — DawnNewsTV

<p>Citizens stand atop a mound, overlooking raging floodwater in Dadu on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV</p>

Citizens stand atop a mound, overlooking raging floodwater in Dadu on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

<p>A team of doctors travel to flooded areas in a boat, following rains and floods during the monsoon season, in Manjhand town, in Jamshoro on Monday. — Reuters</p>

A team of doctors travel to flooded areas in a boat, following rains and floods during the monsoon season, in Manjhand town, in Jamshoro on Monday. — Reuters

Several areas in Sindh remained inundated with floodwater as authorities continued efforts to safeguard Sehwan’s Bhan Syedabad city and Dadu city from a possible deluge.

Dadu Deputy Commissioner (DC) Syed Murtaza Ali Shah told Dawn.com that work on Ring bund to protect Dadu city continued on Tuesday morning.


Key Developments

  • Efforts underway to safeguard Sehwan’s Bhan Syedabad and Dadu city from floods
  • 450 villages in seven UCs of Sehwan flooded by water from Manchhar Lake
  • Fire erupts on boat in Dadu’s Johi; no injuries or fatalities reported
  • Skin, gastro-related diseases reported at health camps across Sindh
  • So far, 169 have died at camps
  • Approximately 700,000 cattle lost in floods nationwide
  • Work for the restoration of roads and electricity supply to flood-affected areas underway
  • PM Shehbaz urges cabinet members to actively participate in relief efforts
  • Pakistan receives first humanitarian assistance flight from Saudi Arabia, Nepal

MPA Pir Mujeeb ul Haq, elected from Dadu’s PS-74 constituency, said heavy machinery was being employed to raise the bund. He said the floodwater was estimated to be at a distance of six kilometres from Dadu city in the morning.

MNA Rafique Jamali, elected from Dadu’s NA-235 constituency, said work was also ongoing to strengthen Main Nara Valley Drain’s protective dyke.

In Sehwan, efforts were under way to save Bhan Syedabad city, said MNA Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto, who had been elected from the area’s NA-233 constituency.

“The situation where Ring bund is located was bad at night due to strong winds and tides, but it is back to normal now,” he said, adding that machinery was being used to complete work on Bhan Syedabad’s Ring bund.

According to Sehwan Assistant Commissioner Iqbal Hussain, 450 villages in seven union councils of the tehsil were flooded by water from Manchhar Lake.

He said relief efforts in the area were ongoing and those affected by floods were being shifted to safe spots. “We have put up over 50 relief camps and tent cities,” he added.

Sindh is where floodwaters from record monsoon rains and glacial melt in the mountainous north and hill torrents from Balochistan have converged and are wreaking havoc after leaving a trail of deaths and destruction elsewhere.

Manchhar Lake — the country’s largest freshwater lake — has been the main source of the threat, compelling authorities to breach its protective dykes and other structures along its paths in an attempt to divert the flow of water towards less populated areas and prevent flooding in densely populated regions.

Floodwaters in Kotri. — DawnNewsTV
Floodwaters in Kotri. — DawnNewsTV

Meanwhile, Irrigation Emergency Cell In Charge Sher Muhammad Mallah told Dawn.com that the water level in Manchhar was recorded at the 122.6-foot reduced level (RL) on Tuesday morning and the water level in the Indus River was at 127.4-foot RL at the Dadu-Moro bridge.

The river’s water level was recorded at 109.5-foot RL at the Amri bridge, he added.

Irrigation Engineer Mahesh Kumar said water from Manchhar was being discharged into the Indus at RD-96, RD-99, RD-98, RD-199 and Karampur and the flow of water was recorded at 50,000 cusecs.

The Flood Forecasting Division’s website showed there was a high-level flood in the Indus at Kotri.

Boat catches fire

Later in the day, Johi Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Ali Baloch told Dawn.com that a fire had erupted in a boat belonging to a flood-affected family.

“There were 15 people aboard. They were travelling from Johi to Dadu city,” he said, adding that the blaze started because of a petrol leak in the boat’s generator.

He confirmed that no fatalities or injuries were reported in the incident. “The family managed to jump out of the boat in time and were then moved to safer locations in rescue boats,” Baloch added.

Skin, gastro-related diseases reported at relief camps

In a meeting to get an overview of rescue and relief operations in flood-affected areas today, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was told that 371,440 patients has been brought to health camps set up across the province.

“Of these, 18,804 reported gastro-related diseases, 20,968 skin related, 8,731 had malaria (suspected), 80 dengue (suspected), and 43,903 complained of other issues,” a press release issued by the CM House said.

So far, 169 patients have died at the camps, it revealed.

Subsequently, the chief minister instructed the health department to ensure the camps were sprayed for mosquitoes and take care of all the people, particularly women, children and elderly, living in the camps.

During the meeting, Shah was also told that the water level at Guddu and Sukkur barrages had returned to normal, while water at the Kotri Barrage — which is in high floods — was slowly reducing.

It was pointed out that four cuts were made at the Larkana-Sehwan Bund because of which water level near Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah had been reduced by one foot and three feet respectively.

Furthermore, the CM was told that there was enormous pressure upon the banks of the spinal from RD-816 to RD-159. The catchment area of LBOD received heavy rainfall yesterday, increasing pressure on its embankments.

Farmers running low on fodder

Farmers in several villages of Sindh have braved the rising waters to stay on and try to keep alive their remaining cattle.

Flood victims receive medicines from a medical camp, following rains and floods during the monsoon season, in Manjhand town, in Jamshoro on Monday. — Reuters
Flood victims receive medicines from a medical camp, following rains and floods during the monsoon season, in Manjhand town, in Jamshoro on Monday. — Reuters

Those stranded by unprecedented floods were running low on feed for their cattle, officials said on Tuesday, as airdropping supplies proved a difficult task.

“It is a serious issue,” an army official told Reuters. “Airdrops would not work, but it is important that fodder be supplied to livestock.”

The situation is set to worsen as weather officials have warned of more rain in the next few days, posing a fresh threat to thousands of displaced people living in tents or in the open alongside highways.

Officials estimate about 700,000 cattle have been lost in the floods nationwide, and the rest, which form a critical asset in a poor country, are growing thin for lack of food.

Repair updates

Unprecedented rains and flashfloods have affected around 33 million people across the country, caused economic losses estimated at $30 billion and resulted in one of the deadliest monsoons that Pakistan has witnessed so far, claiming almost 1,400 lives.

A view of a flooded village in Kandhkot. — DawnNewsTV
A view of a flooded village in Kandhkot. — DawnNewsTV

Authorities have now begun the reconstruction of damaged structures.

According to an update by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), work for the restoration of roads and electricity supply to flood-affected areas has been ongoing on an emergency basis, on the directives of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The PMO said in a tweet that the premier was himself monitoring the repair work and a report was being submitted to him on a daily basis.

So far, sections of Gwadar-Ratodero Motorway (M-8) had been opened for one-way traffic and landslide-hit Wango Hill had been cleared.

Moreover, a 132-kilowatt transmission line had been repaired in Timergara and operations had resumed at Bajaur and Munda grid stations.

Bhan Syedabad was being supplied electricity from alternative sources and Warrah was being supplied electricity from the Qambar grid station, the PMO said.

Separately, PM Shehbaz commended civil and authorities for raising a three-kilometre bund to protect the Dadu grid station from floodwaters within 36 hours.

He also appreciated the National Highway Authority for the restoration of M-8.

PM Shehbaz urges cabinet members to actively participate in relief efforts

Later in the day, during a cabinet meeting, PM Shehbaz urged all the cabinet members to actively participate in the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

“I am not telling you to abandon your responsibilities […] today we are living in a digital world where you can easily stay connected online,” he said. “You can hold meetings on Zoom. But will all of that, you should also fulfill your responsibility towards humanity.”

The premier said that he was aware of the ministers who were visiting the flood victims and appreciated them.

“But today, I request the people who are not involved in these activities. People will always remember those who supported them during the hard times.”

The prime minister expressed hope that floodwaters across the country would soon dry up and people would be able to go back home.

Concluding the meeting, he added: “Today, the people who are away from the nation know everything. They are quiet but don’t mistake their silence. A time will come when they will take accountability.”

More aid arrives

Meanwhile, the first humanitarian assistance flight from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia landed at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on Tuesday, Radio Pakistan reported.

The consignment was received by Ambassador of KSA to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki and Consul General Bandar Fahad Al Dayel along with the representatives of the Foreign Office and NDMA.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan also received the first flight of aid from Nepal at the Karachi airport.

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