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بدھ، 17 اگست، 2011

Flood in Badin & Mirpurkhas

More than 500 villages in Badin district have come under the water which is flowing towards the coastal areas. The government has stopped the flow of the main irrigation canals to avoid further loss, but the authorities could not plug the wide breaches in the drains. Sindh irrigation and Drainage Authority(SIDA) spokesman said they have no access to these breaches so far to plug the same to avoid further losses.
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Thousands of people marooned in rain-hit areas of Badin and Mirpurkhas are waiting for rescue and rehabilitation support as breaches in canals and drains, especially in the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD), remained unplugged so far. Fresh breaches developing in waterways and drains inundated another 20 villages, including the village of Golarchi which was flooded after a 50-foot breach in Miyan Drain widened to 300ft. In Mirpurkhas, the army was called out to rescue thousands of people stranded in flooded villages in Jhuddo taluka where about 15,000 people have taken shelter in makeshift tents along roads and in school buildings. In Badin, the breaches in the main LBOD have caused widespread damage to crops and losses of property and some lives. Villagers have been able to plug breaches at some places but no official assistance that would have mitigated the big loss came. District administrations have failed to handle the situation and rescue stranded people, villagers in the affected areas have rushed to government buildings and schools and set up camps. A large number of displaced people staying in the open along canal banks and other higher places have not received any government help. An official said 36,204 people, 8,240 women and 20,253 children among them, were accommodated in 144 relief camps in Badin district. A few deaths have also been reported.Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday visited the flood-hit areas of Badin and issued directives for immediate response to the flood-affected areas of Sindh and assured payment of compensation after the damage assessment. As soon as the premier left the place the entire scene turned chaotic as small quantities of goods compelled the flood victims to start snatching away the relief goods. The police personnel present on the occasion had to baton charge the people to bring the situation under control. Some affected people sustained injuries while others had to run away empty handed in a bid to escape police batons. This unruly scene only shows the level of the people’s misery and consequent peanuts that the governments at center and in Sindh offered to them in the name of relief.The situation shows the provincial governments have learned almost no lessons from the havoc wreaked by last year’s floods. The monsoons that have been hovering over much of Pakistan in recent days have once again caused untold misery, especially in rural Sindh, forcing people to abandon their homes and leave behind their precious livestock. The people displaced, yet again, will be lucky if they can find their cattle alive when they are able to return home to salvage what they can. It was expected that after destructions in 2010 floods extraordinary steps would be taken to prevent a repeat this year. But Official apathy is playing with people’s lives. The administration paid no attention to strengthen embankments and improve the drainage systems, but this has not happened. Logically both federal and provincial governments are equally responsible for the apathy.
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