Several thousand forced to move out of Sujawal amid threat from cyclone Biparjoy

Published June 14, 2023
A FAMILY prepares to sail to a relief camp after leaving its home in Sujawal on Tuesday.—Dawn
A FAMILY prepares to sail to a relief camp after leaving its home in Sujawal on Tuesday.—Dawn

HYDERABAD/THATTA: Hyderabad division’s civil administration — backed by police and Rangers personnel — on Tuesday started forced evacuation of dwellers in the Kharo Chhaan area of Sujawal district after most of them refused to leave their abodes amid a serious threat from cyclone Biparjoy to the coastal areas of the country.

The forced evacuation is part of a massive operation launched in this regard in the coastal areas of Thatta, Sujwal and Badin districts.

So far, 80pc of the targeted population has moved to safe areas and the process is continuing.

The army troops are ready to join the rescue and relief operation as a third-tier response.

“Rangers are with us and we are now shifting them forcibly because they are not realising gravity of the situation,” said Hyderabad Commissioner Bilal Ahmed Memon while talking to over phone on Tuesday night.

The army, he said, was there as a third-tier response for the administration. He said army would be helping the administration in emergency and medical assistance to affected people.

Officials say 80pc of vulnerable people shifted from three districts to 37 relief camps

The divisional administration believes that around 70,000 people will have to be evacuated from the three coastal districts.

These vulnerable areas included Kharo Chhaan, Jati and Shah Bundar in Sujawal district, Keti Bundar and Ghora Bari in Thatta district, and Badin and Shaheed Fazil Rahu talukas of Badin district.

GOC Hyderabad had also visited Badin, Sujawal and Keti Bundar.

By 7pm Tuesday, around 57,000 people had moved out of the vulnerable areas of the three districts, according to the commissioner, adding that 22,260 of them had voluntarily moved to safe places.

Effects of cyclone seen

Light rain in the evening was reported from Kharo Chhaan and some local journalists said that seawater had started entering some villages — including Umar Jat, Haji Haroon Jat, Laung Mallah, Haji Alam Jat, Sikandar Jat — located near creeks in the Chauhur Jamali area due to the effects of the cyclone.

Around 3,000 people were evacuated from Badin and shifted to relief camps in Golarchi with the assistance of Rangers. Strong coastal winds coupled with light rain were sweeping Jati in the evening.

As many as 20,000 men, women and children had either left Thatta and Sujawal on their own or were made to move to safe places by Tuesday evening, local leaders of the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum (PFF) told Dawn.

Motorboats and road transport means in a large number have been employed to shift the local population, mostly fishermen, to 37 relief camps set up in the three districts.

Initially most of them appeared reluctant to leave their respective villages but were finally convinced to move out.

While resisting the administration’s insistence, they referred to their 1999 experience when they had been left at the mercy of circumstances when they had been evacuated and settled in distant relief camps, where they faced inadequate and irregular food, water and other essentially required supplies.

Meanwhile, volunteers belonging to the PFF and other organisations said that the dyke protecting Keti Bunder was facing sea intrusion due to high tide caused by cyclonic activity.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2023

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