QUETTA, Sept 19: The flood situation in Jaffarabad has worsened and Sohbatpur town and some other areas have been inundated after torrents from Sindh entered the eastern parts of the district.
“About 80 per cent of Jaffarabad district has been badly affected by the floods. Thousands of mud houses have been washed away, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless,” Deputy Commissioner Naseer Nasar told Dawn on Wednesday, adding that heavy floods were battering all the four tehsils of the district.
Torrents continued to enter Balochistan, mounting pressure on the bypass in Dera Allahyar. “We have made at least four cuts in the bypass to let the water drain through its natural course,” an official said.
According to reports reaching the provincial capital, floodwater flowing downstream is threatening Usta Muhammad town, Gandakha and Jhal Magsi areas and the district administration and irrigation department have cut some other roads and dykes to save the populated areas.
Kirthar Canal was breached at several places as torrents from Sindh continued to lash the areas. The canal has a capacity of about 3,000 cusecs but up to 15,000 cusecs of floodwater is flowing into it from the Sindh side.
Official sources said that although the water level had dropped in most of the affected areas, the situation in Sohbatpur was precarious and the entire tehsil was submerged with around 150,000 people having left their homes for safe places.
Low-lying areas of Dera Allahyar, the district headquarters, are inundated. “Five to six feet of floodwater is standing in my house,” a resident of the town, Dhani Bakhsh Magsi, said.
He said a large number people had started migrating to Quetta, especially those who had relatives in the provincial capital.
According to reports from Usta Muhammad, floodwater is threatening the town due to breaches in Kirthar and Sim canals. Irrigation department’s workers are striving to plug the breaches but are facing problems because of the heavy floods.
The sources said floodwater was also gushing towards Jhal Magsi, the home district of Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, after breaches in Kirthar Canal. “Torrents are flowing towards Jhal Magsi, Qaboola, Ninda and Mir Wah areas in Nasirabad district,” they said.
Road link of a vast area of Jaffarabad and Nasirabad with other parts of the country remained suspended for the 10th day. Rail service is also suspended because the track is under five to six feet of water in Shikarpur.
Around 1,000 troops and 2,000 FC men are involved in rescue work in the affected areas and six helicopters and 45 boats are shifting marooned people from both districts.
“Thousands of people have been rescued by the army from the flood-affected areas and 34 tons of dry food and 3,500 bottles of drinking water distributed,” the ISPR said. Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad visited both the worst affected districts. The offices of the livestock secretary and some other relevant departments have been shifted to the affected areas to assist in the rescue and relief work.
The education department has closed all schools and colleges in the badly flooded areas and their buildings are being used to house the displaced people.