KARACHI: An angry Haleem Adil Shaikh, who is the chief minister’s adviser on relief work, held a press conference on Wednesday to speak against the federal government and especially the National Disaster Management Authority. More than 250 lives have been lost in the flooding in Sindh but they did not do their bit, he said
More than three million people have been affected and rain-water is still standing over one million acres of agricultural land in almost seven districts (Jacobabad, Larkana, Khairpur Mirs, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Ghotki and Sukkur). “It will take around three to four months for it to recede,” he said, which is why out of the total number of affected people around 2.6 million people are still living in camps. Referring to an initial survey conducted by his department, he said that a total 11,000 villages were hit by the recent rains, which destroyed 0.3 million houses and washed away cash crops standing over 250,000 acres of land. More than 260,000 houses have been damaged completely and 161,000 houses were partially affected.
Shaikh was equally unhappy with the health department as disease is spreading in the camps where there is an absence of medical teams.
Billions of rupees of the Kharif crops of rice (paddy), cotton, banana, chillies were destroyed in 10 districts.
Shaikh showed a map of areas where water is still standing on agriculture land because of rainwater that rushed down from the hilly areas of Balochistan towards Sindh. Balochistan’s water has affected two major union councils of Qambar-Shahdadkot district – Gaibi Dero and Bago Dero. The water is traveling towards Dadu district and will be drained in Hamal lake, Manchhar lake and through the FP Bund and main Nara valley drain.
Through deputy commissioners, the Sindh government spent 353 million rupees on rescue, relief. Shaikh claimed it distributed more than 75,000 tents, small carpets, mosquito nets, unlimited ration bags among the survivors.
To a question, he said that despite a promise of 25,000 tents, the NDMA distributed only 5,000.
Sites for small dams
Kohistan, Nagarparkar and Ubhan Shah hill areas are the main sites in Sindh for potential small dams, weirs and bunds to save the runoff rainwater.
A presentation on these developments was given by the Small Dams Organisation to the chief minister and the irrigation department on Wednesday. The organization had undertaken seven feasibility studies, out of which four are ready. Additionally, the annual development programme money helped rehabilitate by June 2011 the weirs and bunds in Nagarparkar and at Lakhhay jo Wandio.
This was the first meeting since irrigation minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo was sacked and the chief minister took control. He said he was not happy with the work done on protective bunds from Guddu to Thatta.
The meeting at Chief Minister House on Wednesday was attended by secretary Babar Effendi, Sindh Irrigation & Drainage Authority MD Ahsan Leghari, secretary Agha Jan Akhtar and the chief and superintending engineers from across the department.
Growers and elected representatives have complained of corruption in the irrigation department, said the CM.
Secretary Effendi gave a briefing on flooding in six districts where 21,627 square kilometres have been hit. About 49 pumps have been installed to get rid of the water.
Crops destroyed over
599,44 acres in Kambar
355,056 acres in Khairpur Mirs
285,487 acres in Ghotki
178,253 acres in Jacobabad
132,650 acres in Kashmore
22,900 acres in Sanghar
8,550 acres in Larkana
5,048 acres in Umerkot
3,750 acres in Hyderabad
212 acres in Dadu
3,268 in Ghotki
2,765 in Shikarpur
1,827 in Kashmore-Kandhkot
1,747 in Kambar-Shahdadkot
448 in Khairpur Mirs
205 in Larkana
93 in Umerkot
57 in Hyderabad
44 in Benazirabad
39 in Sanghar
19 in Dadu
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2012.