Sep 06, 2010

Sindh: Flooding Continues, Leaving Many Coastal Stranded

Many of the coastal people of Sindh are stranded and isolated in their town inparticular the Jatti area. This article talks of the necessary changes and actions that must be taken.


Below is a statement by the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum:


Major parts of Jatti, the business center of coastal communities have almost come under the flood water. The people earlier found reluctant to leave their abodes now are calling for help. The residents of five villages of fishermen community, including Esa Borhio, Ghulam Hussain Borhio, Mubarak Borhio, Malir Thaheemore, and Jurio Thaheemore, located seven kilometers from Jatti town could not leave their abodes, as they thought safe. But when the flood water hit their villages they shifted families to one village Jumo Borhio, which now is encircled by the water and the people are feeling unsafe. There are initial reports of death three elderly people in fear, including two women and one male. These people do not have access to food because they had limited ration, which has finished and they need more for the survival. Obviously, the Jatti city, which is the main business center for the tail end coastal communities, wore deserted look. The water was gushing out through streets and sanitation drains. Some of the people catching fish streaming through sanitation drains, saying it might have been coming from destroyed fish farms and the river.
PFF Intervention
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum had sent seven vehicles, two speed boats, three fishing vessels and seven mini pick ups to help the people, evacuate them. PFF was the first organization working on humanitarian basis took active part, especially in Jatti because the fishermen are in majority and being activists of the PFF. But some people showed reluctance and could not come out timely. Now when the flood water encircled them they are crying for help. Again PFF on Saturday has sent two speed boats and vehicles to help the people.
Situation analysis
It was hardly a week ago a grower Ghulam Shabir Shah, 62, led the protest rally staged by local farmers of Jatti town neighbourhood, Thatta district, demanding to provide water to their tail end canal so they may cultivate delayed paddy crop and irrigate standing sugarcane crops timely because there was acute shortage of water. Now the flood water hit the entire area, destroying all the cops and compelled the people to leave their abodes hurriedly.
When asked Shah said: “Yes it was me who mobilized the growers to get water while the supper flood was hitting hard many areas in upper parts of the province. It is because we here were facing acute shortage of water in tail end areas. We never thought before to see this loss.” Shah has lost paddy and sugarcane crops standing at 250 acres of land. He is a small trader and politically influenced citizen. He has shifted entire family but staying with his cousin and a young son to take care of their belongings, claiming their houses are safe.
More than 100 people, who despite fears in the coastal town were still staying at their rooftops to guard their belongings. The people could not imagine to see this havoc but now there is no time to take something from abodes and waiting to see what is happening. The people living in the flooded town said that they have kept ration sufficient for 20 days and believes that after few days flood water may return to the sea.
Panicked citizens
The people were looking panicked on Friday while driving vehicles to evacuate their relatives, finding them, crying to listen to their voice but could not trace their loved ones. The water has inundated wide area and there was only link road connecting Jatti from Khorwah town, Badin district where water pressure was rising. Caravans of displaced villagers carrying luggage packs were on their way to proceed to unseen destinations. The frightened herdsmen carrying their guns were also proceeding ahead to find safe place for their families and livestock on the same road, as water was flowing everywhere.
Media misguidance
Despite the fact that rumours inspired electronic and print media channels to run stories of sinking the city 24 hours earlier the senior citizens sitting there said that the water was just coming now in the town and somebody can move from one side to the other. Thewater hardly covered 30 per cent area on Friday evening. On Saturday the water has covered 50 per cent town, receiving more water.
Poor Response by District Government
There was no official of local administration, except one Revenue officer Mukhtiarkar Salim Memon taking empty rounds on a vehicle. Memon while contacted said they earlier put 253 villages comprising 60,000 population at risk but now the flood has caused displacement of more than 175,000 and may affect further population. He could not say a single word when asked why they (government officials) are not making arrangements to evacuate these people traveling a long distance by foot.
Concerns of Community
A villager Wali Mohammed Jatt was seen requesting the Revenue official to help to rescue eight families of his relatives stranded in Village Ali Mohammed Jatt, three kilometers from Jatti Town. There is no road and only fishing boats could evacuate them.
Dr Muhammad Hussain Arain, 58, a professional physician and grower of Jatti Town called it the politics, which has destroyed their crops, affected business and disturbed hundreds of thousands people. He said there was a natural way of the River Indus, which was blocked deliberately by certain influential just to protect their farms, and now the water is flowing everywhere. “I have never seen this ugly politics to drown others to protect their farms,” he said. He has also shifted entire family to Badin city and came just to see either their houses are safe, as they could not take belongings.
Journey to unseen destination
About 200 residents, women, male and children left their village Moulvi Mohammed Hashim, located eight kilometer from Jatti town, early morning on Friday had covered 15 km till evening, seeing as if water was pursuing them. They wanted to reach Golarchi town, where crowds of internally displaced persons were reaching from different directions. There were few vehicles trying to evacuate the people stranded at different points and the people traveling themselves were not on the priority of these vehicles.

Immediate Need
The immediate need was safe food, water and shelter. The government has set up camps in schools and other government buildings but the herdsmen could not enjoy the facility. They prefer to stay in open to take care of their animals.
? There is no communication system functional in Jatti and its neighbourhood
? Several people were reluctant to come out and may face problem in case of cut out the road and boat routes
? Boats have to travel long distance and take more time
? People stranded are in hurry and at some points they created problems, hindered the process of evacuation
Updates from Thatta town camps
• PFF Provided food to 1500 families
• Completed process of registering 4000 families and distributed tokens among them
• Provided hygiene kits and drinking water coolers to 209 families with support of Concern worldwide
• Still 1000 families yet to be registered.
• Provided drinking water to 10,000 flood affected people with support of Concern worldwide
• PFF team led by chairperson held meeting with DCO at his office to pin point before him the gaps in the District government response in flood situation.
• Team emphasized DCO to expedite rescue and relief work especially for people of Jati Taluka
Updates from Dadu District
• Century’s worst super flood in Indus River now speedily devastating the district Dadu, consisting on four Talukas, Mehar, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Dadu and Johi having population of 318054, 253309, 327972, 1106718 respectively. Approximately 200,000 people of Dadu city have been asked to leave the city within 24 hours.
• Water from MNV Drain at Kakar due to breaches is flowing towards Dadu. The water flow seems to be a threat to Dadu city. The UCs of Dadu, I, II, III, and IV having population 26537, 25115, 19825, 31037 respectively, are declared at risk and people after receiving warning messages started to evacuate towards safer places.
Updates from Badin District
PFF team contacted with District Coordination Officer (DCO) Badin for coordination and support for flood affected communities. EDO (Revenue) contacted with PFF team, assured to provide Diesel 200 liters and Petrol 100 liters for rescue operation through boats at Jati area, as the boats is the only source to evacuate the people stranded in far off villages, which have come under the flood water. The purpose was to evacuate the people from stranded villages of Ghulam Hussain Borhio, Eisa Borhio, Mubarak Borhio, Maleer Thaheemore and Jurio Thaheemore.
1. PFF team rescued the 250 individuals from Jati to Golrachi.
2. PFF team visit the DCO office Emergency Control room and got list of Relief camps.
3. PFF team registered a camp of villagers of Sanwan Machhi currently set up at government primary school Ahmed Soomro.
4. Mr. Kashif Bajeer, SPARC visited PFF office along with Mr. Hussain Bux Jarwar, conducted a meeting with PFF team and assured for support of 132 families at Badin.
5. PFF shared the lists of 3 camps with SPARC team.
Camps in coastal locality Ibrahim Hydri Karachi
S. No Name of relief camp Town and UC Number of families Remarks
1 Sindhi school Ibrahim Hyderi, Bin Qasim Town 1331 This is a large space of school building. People are facing sanitation problem, because due to scarcity of water
3 Mena Masijd School Ibrahim Hyderi Bin Qasim Town 30
4 Mororo Hall Ibrahim Hyderi Bin Qasim Town 11
5 Moro School Ibrahim Hyderi Bin Qasim Town 38
6 Gulshane Benazir Kiamari Town UC gabo Pat 1700 It is a big relief camp, two families are accommodated in one tent, there is lack of safe drinking water, insufficient food and emergency services issue is major.
7 Tikeri College Kiamari Town UC gabo Pat 214
8 Government Girls College Kiamari Town UC gabo Pat 43
9 Kiamari Town UC Gabo Pat Kiamari Town UC gabo Pat 117
10 Government Boys college 9-b Kiamari Town UC gabo Pat 126
11 Government Boys College Gulshan-e Benazir Kiamari Town UC gabo Pat 89
12 Government Boys Sindhi Schools Younus Abad Kiamari Town-UC 4 89
13 Government Boys School Maripur Kiamari Town-UC 6 90 There is no arrangement of food
14 Union Council -6 Office Kiamari Town-UC 6 24 No arrangements of food and drinking water supply
15 GBPS Ibrahim Bhai Greek Village Mairpur Kiamari Town 37 People are waiting for food and drinking water
16 GBPS Haji Ahmed Goth UC Gabo Pat, Kiamari Town 16 People are waiting for food and drinking water
17 Relief Camp at Sachal Goth 230
18 Government Labor department Apartments Gulshane Memar Government Labor department Apartments Gulshane Memar 1000

Major Problems at relief camps
• Sanitation is major problem at almost all the camps
• Food quality is substandard and the people sometimes return back to certain organisations
• Relief camps are overcrowded, creating disturbance
Sources of Information
1. Visited camps
2. Secondary data prepared by PFF teachers and volunteers by surveying camps
3. Data collected by Camp Managers