Epidemics threaten a million survivors

World Heritage site severely damaged

Published on 15 September 2011

Author(s): The Nation

Type:  News

For the second year the World Heritage site of Mohenjo Daro have been damaged

Authorities have said that some one million flood victims are threatened from epidemics if the world help is delayed, while the unprecedented burst of monsoon is continuing in southern Sindh.

Weather forecast calls for more rain over deluged parts of the country as heavy rains and flooding have killed at least 233 people since August and at least 5.5 million people have been affected.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spokesman Irshad Bhatti told BBC Wednesday that if the world community doesn’t come to the rescue of flood victims, up to 200,000 of them could be hit by diarrhoea, while some one million could be struck by malaria and various eye and skin diseases. Irshad Bhatti told CNN Wednesday that rains and flooding have killed at least 233 people in Pakistan. Seven people have died in the past 24 hours, he said.

NDMA Chairman Zafar Iqbal Qadir has told the media that at least 5.5 million people have been affected by the flooding since August. Kristen Elsby, spokeswoman for the United Nations children’s fund, or UNICEF, said 2.7 million children are among the affected. She said half of the 300,000 people in camps are children.

The flooding has inundated more than 4.5 million acres and damaged an estimated 80 percent of crops. At least 1.19 million homes have been damaged, according to the NDMA. And yet the rains are not over. “Scattered thunderstorm and rain with moderate falls at isolated places is expected over most parts of the country,” according to a weather forecast posted on the disaster authority’s website Wednesday.

Floods have caused widespread damage to life, property and livestock in several districts of Sindh, rendering tens of thousands of people homeless while thousands of acres of standing crops have been damaged and road links have been disrupted. Irshad Bhatti said there was no chance of the floodwaters receding anytime soon. He said the worst affected areas are the Sindh province cities of Badin and Mirpurkhas.

The United States, Iran, Japan and China are among the countries that have provided or pledged aid. The current disaster comes a year after devastating floods displaced more than 20 million people.

More than 1,700 people died due to the floods in 2010, Pakistani authorities said. Those floods caused $9.7 billion in damage to homes, roads, farms and other parts of the southwestern Asian country, according to estimates from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

International aid agency Oxfam is mounting an emergency response to get aid to those affected by fresh flooding in Sindh province in Pakistan. “There is an urgent need to provide immediate and life saving relief to the millions affected. It hasn’t stopped raining in Sindh for the last 10 days. Large swathes of land are underwater and people are desperately awaiting relief.

They have lost their crops, homes and livestock for the second time – and been pushed from last year’s disaster to this one,” said Neva Khan, the Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan, who visited some of the worst affected areas in lower Sindh.

Intermittent rains continued on Wednesday in Badin, Jamshoro, Hyderabad and Omarkot. Badin-Tando Road is inundated. According to the Sindh Relief Commissioner Office, majority of casualties have taken place in Mirpur Khas district where thirty persons were killed. About four feet high water is standing in Mirpur Khas city and some important buildings in the city too have been inundated.
Low lying areas in Hyderabad, Sanghar, Nawabshah and other towns have also been inundated because of the recent rains. Local administration in Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah has announced to close the educational institutions today (Thursday).

Floods pakistan sept 2011 BADIN_A_man_drives_his_donkey_32594.jpg
BADIN: A man drives his donkey (The Nation)

On the other hand, water level in the left bank outfall drain (LBOD) is constantly decreasing. The district administration of Mirpurkhas instructed to evacuate three union counsels after breaches were reported in the saline water drains near Mirpurkhas. However, people did not migrate to the other areas as no more rains took place and the breaches are being repaired quickly.

According to sources, residents of many areas of Hyderabad are facing difficulties due to stagnant rainwater while supply of necessary food items has also been affected due to market closure. Rescue operation was kicked off Wednesday morning in Juhi tehsil of Dadu where many flood-hit victims were transferred to safe areas. Badin is still inundated in floodwater and victims are forced to live under open sky.

In Naushero Feroze, influential people created breaches in streams to save their lands, leaving several villages submerged and people stranded. According to reports, influential land owners in Union Council Phal breached streams from different locations to save their lands from being inundated.

This submerged some 12 villages and many roads in the area. It also forced poor people to migrate to other areas. Hundreds of people are stranded in Mirpur Bhatoro town of Thatta and awaiting help.

The cotton and chilly crops in Sumaro and Kanri tehsil of District Umerkot were destroyed due to torrential rains while power and communication systems in many areas were adversely affected in Naukot, Jhadu, Tando Jam Mohammad and Digree areas. Power supply has been suspended in Naukot and surrounding areas for the past six days.

There is severe shortage of food and medicines in the relief camps of Sanghar while 2-3 feet of rainwater is present in Noshehro Feroz jails. No proper arrangements were done to expel rainwater from many areas, causing difficulties for the locals.

The remains of Mohenjo Daro have been damaged in ongoing monsoon rains. According to a private TV channel, the remains have been severely damaged while the rainwater is accumulated in several areas of the historical site. The administration has started repairing the damaged walls and draining out the accumulated water off from the sites (italics CiD).

Staff Reporters Add: In Dadu district, flood survivors of village Ghulam Chandio and Mounder staged a protest against the Dadu Muktiar-i-Kar Naeem Wistro, PPP Dadu City President Saifullah Panwer and the District Government for not providing them ration and Watan Cards.

They blocked Larkana Road by burning tyres. Protesters, including women and children, carried banners, placards carrying slogans against the authorities and chanted slogans. They demanded ration, tents, portable water and other necessities.

In Sanghar district, rainwater has accumulated on roads and damaged public and private buildings, shops and houses. The power, telephone and other communication systems have sustained huge damage. On the demand of the citizens Sanghar DCO Ahmed Bux Khokhar has been transferred. The new DCO Ghulam Haider Mangrio would take his charge today (Thursday).

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