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Flood devastation in Balochistan: where is the government and the media?

Photo: The Baloch Hal

Source The Baloch Hal
QUETTA: Tens of thousands of people remained marooned as vehicular traffic and train services in the flood affected region remained suspended for the third consecutive day on Saturday.

Almost six districts of Eastern Balochistan received torrential rains and caused flash floods that claimed more than 55 lives so far. The worst affected regions were Barkhan, Sibi, Kohlu, Naseerabad and Jaffarabad.

The local people contested the claims of the officials, particularly of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that enough relief goods were dispatched or rescue operation carried out.

Train service, power supply and road transport linking with cities and human settlements all around the affected areas remained cut off. However, officials started efforts to repair the damages of Railway track and the main highway. Little progress was witnessed as reopening of normal traffic will take several days, local people opined.

According to reports reaching here, a four year-old baby Banazir and her elder brother six-year-old Shabbir Ahmed died due to water borne diseases in Khoti Khulari area of Bala in Nari Tehsil of Sibi.

Health officials claimed that there was no threat of outbreak of epidemics in the flood affected regions as substantial medicine with medical staff is available.

According to reports, tens of thousands of affected people of Bala Nari, Talli, Baktiarabad, Thri Har, Kohlu, and Barkhan were facing difficulties due to insufficient relief goods, mainly food for survival.

Local residents reached on phone confirmed that 12 persons died in flash floods and their bodies are still lying in the open with no people reaching to help bury the dead in Wazirabad village of Bakhtiarabad in Lehri Tehsil which is worst affected area.

He said around 150 people are trapped in Wazirabad and so far no rescue team had arrived to save human lives. He said that there is no one available for funeral.

Senior most officials from Kohlu have said that the relief goods provided by PDMA were not adequate for the two union councils. He said that three hundred families had been affected and all are living in relief camps.

“One hundred tents, two hundred wheat packets so far had been received,” he complained. He said if immediate steps were not taken it would cause outbreak of diseases.

Chairman National Disaster Management, Lieutenant General Retired, Nadeem Ahmed conducted aerial survey of affected districts. He made a assessment of the death and destruction but he did not share his report with the media as he had kept media people waiting for hours. The media persons boycotted his proposed news conference because he had wasted two full hours of dozens of journalists present there.

Director General of Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Hassan Baloch conceded that the affected areas are too long to access the affected people but he said relief works have been carried out and the Provincial Government sending loaded trucks and helicopters for the affected areas. He said on Saturday 12 loaded trucks with tents, medicines, goods and other necessary items moved toward Kohlu, Barkhan and Sibi.

He claimed that around 50 thousands people had been affected which was contrary of the claim of local people.

According to reports reaching from Dera Murad Jamali, a large number of people started moving towards the safer places on higher ground owing to threats of flash floods which is moving towards Pet Feeder and Rabi Canal. If the flash flood hit the banks of Pat Feeder and Rabi Canal, the situation will further deteriorated inundating the area more severely and flood devastation would be great, official sources opined.

Earlier, seventy villages were submerged near Rabi Canal while Gahgi band had busted. The people are living under the open skies with no relief.
According to one report, there were 50 snake bite cases were reported from one village and there was no snake bite serum available in the local hospital. The Provincial Health Directorate rushed the supplies to the flood affected regions, officials claimed.

Local people were shocked that the Federal Government had not announce any substantial financial assistance for the flood affected people, those who lost their lives or those who lost their entire belongings, food stock, household goods and valuables in flash floods.

Torrential Rains and Floods Claim 43 Lives across Pakistan

At least 43 people are believed dead and many more are missing due to flash floods unleashed by torrential rains in different parts of Pakistan.

Floods hit several villages in Sibi, Barkhan, and Kohlu districts of Baluchistan province, killing 30 people including women and children and washed away thousands of mud houses. 50 people were also reported to have been swept away whose bodies haven’t been recovered yet.

Communication from theses areas with the rest of the country has been bad as road links are washed out, communication and electricity systems in these areas have been affected badly.

A breach in Tanga Dam resulted in six villages submerged in water.

In Lahore 5 people were killed including a child. Over 300 houses in Southern Punjab were flooded in water and people have to seek refuge on the roof-top.

Rescue works have been started in the effected areas. Frontier Corps spokesman in Baluchistan said that bodies of 15 people who were drowned in the flood water in Barkhan area were retrieved while more than 30 people were still missing. `Contingents of FC have arrived in affected areas to help in the relief activities`, he said.

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  • http://beenasarwar.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/urgent-help-needed-for-people-of-flood-destroyed-sibi-balochistan/

    On July 21, heavy rainfall in district Sibi and nearby mountains resulted in heavy floods in River Talli, destroying the safety dam of village Union Council Talli, District Sibi. Over 80 have died, and more than 150 are still missing. Over 57,000 people have been affected in Sibi, Lehri, Barkhan.The floods have damaged 90% of the houses, over 50% livestock and agriculture.
    According to the district agriculture and revenue departments these floods have broken the past records of 1978 which also resulted in huge destruction.
    A team from Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari’s well-regarded organisation in Balochistan, the Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) recently visited the affected villages and met with the people there. Dr Bakhteari has sent out an appeal urgently seeking the following items: Food Water Tents
    Please contact: Alam Baloch / Safdar Hussain
    IDSP – Sibi Campus, Near Radio Station, Luni Road, Sibi, Balochistan.
    Telephone: office +92-833-500192 Mobiles: +92-331-8392503, +92-333-7801886

    IDSP-Pakistan, Pakistan [IDSP-PAKISTAN]. H.No. 7-A, Al-Mashraq Street, Arbab Karam Khan Road Quetta, Pakistan. T. +92.81.2471776, 2470243 F. +92.81.2447285. idsp@idsp.org.pk

  • Flood response in Pakistan lax
    Published: July 26, 2010

    QUETTA, Pakistan, July 26 (UPI) — Provincial officials in southwestern Pakistan warned the response to flooding in the region hasn’t kept pace with the severity of the humanitarian emergency.

    Heavy rains during the monsoon season triggered flash floods in southern Pakistan that claimed the lives of at least 50 people and affected another 50,000 in parts of Balochistan province.

    Maj. Gen. Saleem Nawaz, who heads a provincial paramilitary force, said his soldiers were working to “move affected people to safe locations,” he was quoted by the United Nations’ humanitarian news agency IRIN as saying.

    Local officials, however, complained to the news agency that despite the widespread devastation, the response so far has been lax.

    “Three hundred families have been affected and they are all living in relief camps but till now just 100 tents and 200 bags of wheat have been received,” said Nasrullah Rind, a district leader in the province.

    District managers have declared a state of emergency in the flood zones as a collapsed bridge has cut parts of Balochistan province off from the rest of the country.

    Weather officials said rainstorms are expected to continue along the border areas of western Pakistan. Monsoon season in the country stretches into September.

    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/07/26/Flood-response-in-Pakistan-lax/UPI-86051280153949/

  • 30,000 people made homeless as floods enter Tambo tehsil

    * People criticise slow relief work in affected areas
    * Met department forecasts heavy rains in Sindh, Balochistan

    QUETTA: More than 30,000 people have been made homeless as flash floods entered Tambo tehsil of Nasirabad district in Balochistan, destroying crops in the canal-irrigated area.

    Around 0.2 million people had been affected by floods in six districts of Balochistan where rescue and relief work had been slow and inadequate. Roads, power transmission lines and railway tracks have been destroyed in the district. On Sunday, for the fourth consecutive day, the area remained cut off from the rest of the country. But some trucks loaded with relief goods reached the affected areas by using alternative routes. Balochistan Communication and Works Minister Mir Sadiq Umrani confirmed the massive devastation in Tambo tehsil, where people had been forced to live under the open sky, as their houses had been destroyed by the flash floods. There have been reports of snakebites in the area but the Balochistan Health Directorate has failed to dispatch anti-snake bite medicines to the area, which has led to some deaths.

    Despite the massive destruction, relief work had not started in Tambo tehsil but Umrani visited the affected area and distributed relief goods amongst the victims. According to official sources, around 35 people, including women and children, had been rescued by helicopter from the Thari Ahd area of Sibi. They had remained confined in the affected area for three days but had been brought to the relief camps on Sunday. According to railways sources, repair work had been started in the Bakhtiarabad area of Sibi and train services would be restored in the next 24 hours. According to Quetta Electricity Supply Company (QESCO) officials, the power supply would be restored as soon as the water levels in the area fall.

    Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Director General Hassan Baloch told the media that a massive loss of life and property had been reported in Talli, Sultan Kot, Bakhtiarabad and Kohlu. He claimed that all road routes had been restored in the area and rescue work was being carried out in the devastated areas. “All roads have been destroyed in the area and many casualties have also been reported. People are complaining about the inadequate relief efforts but PDMA and the local administration are making efforts to solve the problems of the masses,” Baloch said.

    Separately, the Meteorological Department predicted heavy rains in various parts of Sindh and Balochistan in the next few days. Also on Sunday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced that Pakistan Army teams had distributed relief goods amongst the affectees of the flash floods in various parts of Balochistan. mohammad zafar/app

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20107\26\story_26-7-2010_pg7_1

  • Flooded Balochistan districts still cut off

    A bridge collapsed during heavy downpour in Kohlu District. Photo: PPI

    QUETTA: Roads, power transmission lines and train services linking the flood-affected districts of Sibi, Kohlu, Naseerabad, Kachhi, Jaffarabad and Barkhan with the rest of the country remained suspended on Sunday for the fourth consecutive day, following heavy rains that devastated the area.

    However, some trucks loaded with relief goods reached the affected areas using alternate routes.

    A new flash flood hit Tambo tehsil, a lush irrigated region in Naseerabad, submerging 30 villages. Around 30,000 people have been trapped and are homeless. However, no fresh casualties were reported.

    Formal relief efforts have yet to begin in the area. Provincial minister Mir Sadiq Umrani did visit Tambo tehsil and distributed goods and food items.

    Officials said that around 35 people, including women and children, were rescued from Thari Ahd area in Sibi by helicopter. They remained marooned for three days until they were brought to relief camps on Sunday.

    Railway officials informed that repairs are being carried out in Baktiarabad area of Sibi and train services would restored in 24 hours.
    According to Qesco officials, power supply will be restored as the flood waters recede form the affected areas.

    The director general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Mohammad Hassan Baloch, said losses had been reported in Talli, Sultan Kot, Baktiarabad and Kohlu. He claimed that the land route had been restored and rescue work was being carried out in all devastated areas.

    “There were huge losses reported and all the roads had been washed away. Thus people were complaining about insufficient relief, but now as the land routes are being restored the PDMA and local administrations are making an all out-effort to address the problems of the affectees,” he added. Around 25 loaded trucks had reached the flood hit region, he said.

    Speaking to Express 24/7, the PDMA chairman contradicted recent reports that over 50 people had been killed in flooding in Barkhan district, saying: “It was generally said that 50 people had died in Barkhan. However, yesterday we confirmed that only 18 people had been killed. This was confirmed by the local authorities and army officials.”

    Baloch said that eight to 10 people were missing ,dismissing the figure of 70 people.

    He said that he had met with the chairman of the National Disaster Management Nadeem Ahmed authority yesterday, who conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas.

    Meanwhile, locals continued to complain about insufficient relief efforts. No compensation has been announced for the flood victims yet, and the government has yet to start a survey of the affected areas where, according to officials, the losses could run into billions of rupees.

    Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.

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