SUKKUR: The Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has urged the government to form a special committee tasked with launching relief and rehabilitation operation for the victims of last year’s devastating flood in the worst hit Thari Mirwah and Faiz Ganj talukas in Khairpur district, who are still awaiting relief eight months after the disaster hit them.

The commission recommended to the government in the wake of its member, retired judge Aslam Shaikh’s visit to Thari Mirwah in recent months that a special committee should be formed under deputy commissioner to immediately drain out stagnant rainwater before the arrival of monsoon, said a press release issued on Monday.

It said the proposed special committee should have members from all line departments and Provincial and District Disaster Management Auth­orities, and locals (having undisputed repute) to monitor the relief and rehabilitation work.

The committee should carry out survey of the destruction and provide healthcare facilities like portable clinics, maternity wards and dispensaries across the district.

It said the food shortage should be dealt with on an urgent basis as many individuals including women and children were at risk of malnutrition. The food supply chain be made smooth and charity agencies be taken on board for the same, it said.

It said the committee should work on the possibilities of creating opportunities for the cultivation of wheat crop and build relevant synergies between the government departments, NGOs, emergency service providers, media, and other partners to develop and implement the plan for rehabilitation.

It said the committee should prioritise repair work of bridges, roads and infrastructure and in future, government buildings should be designed in conformity with local weather conditions and climate. Women, persons with disabilities, religious minorities and the transgender community be provided special support, it said.

It said that silt should be removed from all sewage drains and their banks be cleared of occupants. Effective planning should be made to prevent a similar disaster in upcoming monsoon season, said the press release.

It said the committee should conduct a detailed risk assessment to identify flood-prone areas and vulnerable communities, develop flood risk maps to guide evacuation plans, emergency response efforts and resource allocation, and strengthen the existing early warning systems to ensure timely dissemination of accurate and reliable information about potential disaster.

It said the committee should buttress the infrastructure to mitigate flood damage, which included improving drainage systems, constructing flood embankments, reinforcing river embankments and creating reservoirs or detention ponds to regulate water flow.

It should develop a comprehensive emergency response plan that outlined roles, responsibilities, and coordination mechanisms among various government agencies, humanitarian organisations and community groups.

It should establish evacuation routes, safe shelters, and stockpile essential supplies like food, water, medicine, and blankets and encourage the formation of community-based disaster management committees and train local volunteers in first aid, search and rescue, and emergency response.

It should foster collaboration and coordination among different stakeholders, including government departments, non-governmental organisations, international agencies, and community-based organisations and regularly conduct coordination meetings and establish effective communication channels.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2023

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