Over two million severely hit: •Balochistan death toll 100 •15 districts affected •Loss estimated at Rs10bn
QUETTA, July 1: Balochistan has suffered a loss of around Rs10 billion because of cyclone and flood which severely affected over two million people in 15 districts and destroyed roads and communication network.
More deaths were reported from different areas of the province on Sunday. The provincial government confirmed over 100 deaths and said that the toll could increase as a large number of people were still missing.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz visited the flood-hit areas of Turbat and said the federal government would provide adequate help and cooperation to the Balochistan government for rehabilitating the affected people.
He said the government would also welcome cooperation and help from the international community and non-governmental organisations.
He said that the communication system would be restored immediately in the flood-hit areas to ensure supply of relief goods to the affected people.
Frontier Corps Inspector General Maj-Gen Saleem Nawaz briefed the prime minister on the extent of destruction. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Yousuf, Chief Secretary, K.B. Rind, federal Minister Zubaida Jalal and provincial Minister Syed Eshan Shah were present.
Provincial Home Secretary Tariq Ayub and provincial Relief Commissioner Khuda Bakhsh Baloch told reporters that 15 out of 29 districts had been affected by the cyclone and flash floods and the situation was quite bad in eight districts where personnel of the army and Frontier Corps were engaged in rescue and relief operation.
Thousands of marooned people were rescued and taken to safe places.
The most affected districts are Turbat, Gwadar, Nasirabad, Jaffarabad, Jhal Magsi, Bolan, Kharan, Khuzdar, Washak and Nushki. More bodies were found in the Nal area of Khuzdar district where 10 villages have been washed away by flash floods caused by a breach in a dam on Friday night.
Officials confirmed that 42 bodies had been recovered. Tahir Bizenjo, a former senator of the National Party, claimed that 50 bodies had been found while hundreds of people were missing.
“Nothing is left in the villages. All mud-houses have been washed away,” Mohammad Aslam, a resident of Nal, told Dawn by telephone. The officials confirmed a large number of deaths in the area. They said casualties had also been reported in Jhal Magsi, Awaran, Kharan, Bolan, Kalat, Turbat, Sibi districts and other parts of Balochistan.
Heavy rains continued in Jhal Magsi, Nasirabad and Jaffarabad areas, causing flash flood and breaching Dori canal near the Magsi Kot area. Several dozen villages were submerged in water gushing out of the canal.
“Floodwater entered nine union councils following the breach in the canal,” Relief Commissioner Khuda Bakhsh said, adding that the situation in the Bagh Head area of Jaffarabad district had worsened.
The officials said that rains also lashed Bolan district and the Bolan river was in high flood. Gas supply to Quetta and four other districts have remained suspended for four days.
Many houses collapsed in the Mach area. Four members of a family died when roof of their house collapsed on Sunday morning.
Reports reaching here also said that thousands of mine workers were stranded in coal mines areas of Mach, Degari and Surrang as all roads had been washed away.The situation in Jhal Magsi was the same and several thousand people marooned after floodwater entered the township after washing away of a dyke around the Jhal Magsi town built for flood protection.Provincial Home Secretary Tariq Ayub told reporters that according to initial estimates, Balochistan suffered a loss of around Rs10 billion as all roads, communication system and other infrastructure had been completely destroyed. “Losses could be between Rs9 and Rs10 billion,” he said, adding that around two million people of 15 flood- and cyclone-affected districts severely affected and tens of thousands rendered homeless.
About the relief operation, he said the provincial government had decided to dispatch 10 medical teams to the affected districts. He said that the teams would be sent by helicopters.
He said that personnel of the armed forces engaged in relief and rescue work had evacuated 300 marooned people from Jhal Magsi and 250 from Jaffarabad. He said that on Sunday an aerial survey of Nal Tehsil, Kharan, Noshki and some other parts was conducted for a massive relief operation.
The home secretary said that a meeting with NGOs was scheduled for Monday to ask them to support the relief operation. He also said that the Dori Shakh river at Kot Magsi in Jaffarabad district had overflown it banks breached and it might affect nine union councils, adding that the authorities had warned more than 40,000 people to leave their homes.
He said the federal government had been asked to provide tents for shelter-less people and the prime minister had assured all possible cooperation in this regard.
Meanwhile, the railway authorities have restored train service between Quetta and the rest of the country on Saturday night after removing boulders that blocked the main track. The Quetta-Chaman railway track was also cleared for traffic.
Meanwhile, President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Sunday said that the federal government would provide help to the Balochistan government for rehabilitating the cyclone- and flood-affected people of the province.
Talking to Chief Minister Jam Mir Mohammad Yousuf, the president said that he would soon visit Balochistan to review the losses.