(Dadu/Badin): The recent heavy rains and floods caused immeasurable damage to people, properties, and livelihood resources in Pakistan. The situation is alarming in Sindh, where floods have created havoc.
The irony is Sindh is known for its barren tracts and drought, and it is the same area which now inundated. “In this barren land, there is no water for crops, and now Sindh is inundated,” says the affectee in K.N Shah.
This year Pakistan received 190 percent of rains since the 60s from mid-June to August, which damaged Sindh and Balochistan. Devastating floods affected major parts of the country. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) claims that almost 33 million are displaced; 2 million homes are washed away, and 7,000 kilometres of roads and 500 bridges have collapsed.
People in Sindh are fuming in floods. They say the Sindh government has ruined natural ways which would carry floodwater. Since the 2010 floods, the Sindh government did not construct the embankments.
Faqeer Mohammed Shaikh, a local businessperson started voluntary work for affectees in Khairpur Nathan Shah (K.N Shah) and criticized the Sindh government. The region had floods even before this disaster, but the rulers mismanaged it. “It had devastated everything. The district commissioner in Dadu confessed that he had orders to drown K.N Shah. After his confession, he was transferred.”
Villagers here believe that K. N Shah was inundated to save the land of influential people in the region from flooding.
The State hurdled the natural flow of water
“The farmer insisted that the construction of artificial drains and canals would one day drown his house. He even went on to predict floods submerging entire villages, with only rooftops remaining for people to save their lives,” Dr. Sikandar Ali Mandhro, a Pakistan Peoples Party Leader, shared a critique of a villager over Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBDO) in the 70s when the project was about to start.
LBDO project was planned to take excess water from the left side of river Indus to the sea to avoid flooding. However, what is happening is the exact opposite. Instead of helping to avoid floods, the LBDO has been causing floods since 2011, and now it has submerged the villages.
People in Badin say that the rulers damaged the natural routes of water, resulting in floods. The government established the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBDO), which has walled natural way of water.
Read: Floods add to the miseries of the marginalized
Ram Kohli, an activist, explains, “When you block the natural passage for the floodwater, then you will have to face disaster which Sindh is facing now.” Ram has been working for affectees since day one of the disaster.
One of the areas is Roshanabad in Badin people regardless of faith: Muslim, Kohli, Bheel, and Meghwar joined hands to protect the embankment. Meanwhile, they had protected another Puran embankment with a distance of 8 kilometres on which villagers worked. Influential people were about to demolish it because influential people wanted to protect their farming land.
Video: Man-made disaster
Haji Hotakani, leading a group of people, which constructed an embankment at Roshanabad, lambasted the Sindh government for ignoring the natural ways of the floodwater and deliberately cutting embankments to inundate poor people for funding and pressurizing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to composite their loans.
Pakistan has been in an economic crisis, and flood-stricken people are of the view that government wants to cash their misery to donners. The government did not help people drowning in heavy rains and floods, cutting unnecessary dykes that drowned the villages and cities.
‘Affectees are working at the embankment for protecting villages in Badin: Hayat Khaskheli, Sanghi, Pitaf, Attah Mohammed to Malkani,’ says Abbas Ali Arain, also working on the ring embankment for days. “Politicians do not come to us, and maybe, their cars get dust and mud,” he said.
In Dadu, affectees have complaints about the men-made-disaster – the government pushed people to stay on the roads.
K.N Shah looks like the sea. “When floodwater entered our city, we appealed to the government for protection, Shaikh says, but to no avail.”
He said that the government kept changing water level indicators to dodge people that the water flow was not high, but people realized that the local administration made them fool, and then they protested against it. He added that since the 2010 flood, the government did not initiate construction work on dykes despite allocating a massive budget.
“Sindh government made K.N Shah drown, and Dadu is still at risk,” he said.
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