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Bureau Report

HYDERABAD, Sept 7: Civil society organisations of Sindh have demanded appointment of a transparent body to initiate rehabilitation of flood survivors.

Activists accused the government of negligence which caused displacement in 19 districts of the province.

The demand was made at a consultative workshop on “Flood Disaster in Sindh: Damages, Needs and Issues”, jointly organised on Monday by the Institute for Social Movements(ISM) and Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).

The activists said that the flood had badly affected agriculture, irrigation, fisheries, livestock and poultry sectors that faced a loss of Rs369 billion.

The damage to infrastructure is irreparable and its rehabilitation needs huge investments.

Head of the Centre for Civil Society and Peace (CPCS) Jami Chandio stressed the need for formation of a transparent commission comprising honest government officials, professionals and civil society members to conduct scientific assessment and plan to initiate rehabilitation.

Presiding over the workshop, Mr Chandio appealed to well-off Sindhi people to extend their help, adopt one village or donate to rebuild the ruined villages equipped with basic facilities.

In his presentation, Assistant Prof Fatah Mari of the University of Agriculture Tando Jam portrayed the scenario of losses to agriculture, livestock, fisheries and poultry sectors. He said that standing crops had been affected badly, and Rabi and Kharif crops would suffer irreparable losses and farmers would get low yield.

Only in northern districts more than 250,000 cattle heads died and in others districts farmers sold their livestock at low prices to bear expenditure for their shifting to safe places. It needed further assessment because the loss could be more than being declared by the government, he said.

Regional head of the SPO Mustafa Baloch said in his introductory remarks that floods had brought more challenges for the people of Sindh; they would have to face economical, social, moral and ethical challenges and anarchy.

“We cannot imagine now; when floodwater recedes, people, who have lost their belongings but saved their arms, will create anarchy. In this situation, there is a dire need to initiate skill development programs to save our youth,” Mr Baloch said, adding that poverty and starvation would also create disorder in society.

“At this time all the sections of society should come forward to play their due role to avoid this disorder.”

He said that the disaster had affected tribal rivals equally, compelling them to eat from the same plate, but there were fears that poverty and hunger would breed new animosities.

Suleman G Abro said this all happened because of the negligence of the government.

“We already pointed out that these district disaster management authorities (DDMA) did not have resources. These were unequipped that is why they could not face the pressure of water resulting in mass migration,” Mr Abro said.

Zulfiqar Shah, executive director of the ISM-Pakistan, said that they mobilized resources at this critical juncture because the entire Sindhi society was in panic.

Women rights activist Amar Sindhu, Hashim Leghari, Abrar Qazi, and Hafeez Kumbhar also participated in the discussion.

WOMEN REHABILITATION: A provincial consultative meeting has prepared a 23-point charter of demands for the rehabilitation of flood-affected women.

The meeting was jointly held by the National Commission for Women, Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (PODA) and Auratazaad here on Monday.

Chairperson of the National Commission for Women Ms Anees Haroon presided over the meeting while Sindh Minister for Women Development Touqeer Fatima Bhutto was chief guest.

Recommendations formulated at the meeting would be submitted to the government and foreign funding agencies to keep in mind the needs of the flood-affected women.