Sindh Braces for Flood, Punjab’s Misery Peaks

Over 85 villages were inundated after breaches in Bait Gopang and Sarwarabad Zamindara strategic dykes of Head Panjnad on Monday. The floodwater also entered Saitpur after a breach in Super dyke in Muzaffargarh district, suspending road link with Alipur city.  The floodwater was Monday heading towards Sindh where authorities have declared alert to deal with the emerging situation.

Flood In Pakistan
Sindh braces for flood, Punjab’s misery peaks

Several villages between Doaba and Chak Rohari were submerged in the floodwater and crops over thousands of acres were damaged when the authorities breached Chak Rohari dyke to divert water towards the River Indus. People started leaving homes to move to safe places.  Rescue operations on Monday were carried out around the central city of Multan, a home to two million people, where the authorities blew up two dykes to try to stop the water from inundating the city. Some 300 villages around Muzaffargarh have already been inundated and the flooding has devastated thousands of acres of the cotton crop. Bahawalpur SE Irrigation Akram Javed, while talking to The Nation, said the flood at Panjnad was high, but under control.

“Around 395,000 cusecs of water is flowing from this head without any interruption. The water will remain rising till next 24 hours and more than 150,000 cusecs will rise by that time. All the safety bunds are in a good position and it is hoped no bund will be breached at this spot because the floodwater flow has spread before entering this area,” he held. Zamindara Bund of Bakhtiari was breached for the smooth flow of water. This bund had been constructed by the local people for their safely. The cotton crop over a large area was damaged.  Leaving behind deaths, destruction and miseries, the flood engulfed the towns coming on its way one after the other. Now it is about to hit Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur after playing havoc with Jhang, Multan and Muzaffargarh. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is learnt to have issued serious flood warnings to both the districts.  Irrigation sources disclosed the discharge of water at Head Panjnad kept rising with every passing day as it stood at 413,000 cusecs on Monday night. 

Irrigation sources warned that a high-level flood was likely to hit Head Panjnad within one day and the towns located on the River Chenab’s downstream like Shujabad, Jalalpur Pirwala, Alipur, Jatoi, Uch Sharif, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur were under threat of a heavy flooding.  The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said the recent floods had so far killed 232 persons, besides injuring 386 while the number of the affected people had surpassed the figures of 2.4 million across the Punjab province. The flooding completely destroyed standing crops over 1.681 million acres of land, inundated 2,818 villages and damaged 34,000 houses.  Keeping in view the large-scale devastation caused by the flash floods in the province, the Punjab government has announced Rs 2 billion fund for flood relief and rehabilitation operation. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced that each affected district will get Rs 100 million in the first phase.

Similarly, the Punjab Cabinet Committee constituted for flood relief has also announced that the provincial government will provide Rs 20,000 to each family displaced by the floods before Eidul Azha.  Meanwhile, no considerable decline in the water level was observed in the River Chenab near Multan as it went down by just one foot till Monday night. Irrigation sources said the water level gauged at Akbar Flood Bank stood at 410.40 feet on Monday compared to Sunday’s 411.40 feet while at Sher Shah it stood at 392.40 feet than 393.40 feet of previous day. The sources said over 500,000 cusecs of water still passed through Multan.  The discharge of water from Head Trimmu, however, returned to normalcy and it is hoped the flood in Multan would recede by Tuesday (today). The recent figures available with the irrigation department disclosed that the water discharge at Head Trimmu was 153,728 cusecs.

Although the road contact of Multan with Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Kot Addu and all other adjoining areas remained disconnected for the fourth consecutive day, Multan Commissioner Asad Ullah Khan declared it would be restored in one day.  After wreaking havoc with South Punjab, the River Chenab is feared to unleash its wrath in Sindh as the incoming water level will increase at Guddu and Sukkar barrages while the provincial administration has mobilised relief and rescue teams to avoid a large-scale devastation. Due to several breaches in dykes at the River Chenab between Qadirabad and Panjnad, the risk of high-to-very-high flood at Guddu and Sukkur has decreased, the Flood Forecasting Division reported on Monday. The River Indus at Guddu and Sukkur may have medium to high flood, ranging between 400,000 cusecs and 500,000 cusecs from September 16 to September 18. All the authorities concerned have been directed to take appropriate action. Floods and landslides since the days of heavy monsoon rains have claimed more than 300 lives and affected 2.3 million people in the country. 

According to a handout by ISPR, army rescue and relief operation continues in the flood-affected areas of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Uch Sharif, Bahawalpur and Athara Hazari. During the rescue operation, seven helicopters have flown for 206 hours since September 5 and 41,115 people have been rescued by the army jawans, 128 tons of food has been dropped, 18 medical camps set up by Armed Medical Corps and 4,286 patients given treatment there. The boat service between Muzaffargarh and Multan was suspended after the Sunday tragedy that claimed 17 lives. The Inter-Services Public Relations said the army’s rescue and relief operations continued in the flood-hit areas of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Uch Sharif, Bahawalpur and Athara Hazari and about 73,000 people had been rescued with the help of 300 boats. Army helicopters supplied 80 tons of ration to the people trapped in the flooded areas. The ISPR further said 18 military hospitals had extended medical assistance to 4,286 patients so far. 

Similarly, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation and Al-Khidmat Foundation also continued their flood relief operations. The Pakistan Army had started boat service between Muzaffargarh and Multan to facilitate the people serving in Multan or Muzaffargarh districts, Haj pilgrims and others who wanted to travel on emergency basis.  Earlier on Sunday, at least 17 people including a groom drowned when their boat capsized near Sher Shah flood embankment in River Chenab.  However, at least 20 people including bride were rescued by Rescue 1122, Army and Navy personnel. A relative of the ill-fated family told journalists that groom Zahid and bride Mishal, after tying knot, were returning from Muzaffargarh for their valima ceremony in Multan when they met with the tragedy. -nation