Helpless flood victims wage a battle they can’t win alone | The Express Tribune


KAMBAR SHAHDADKOT:

It is a road that looks like a passage through the ocean.

The road from Sukkur to Kambar-Shahdadkot seemed to be the only dry area because flood waters have not only demolished houses, destroyed crops, taken away animals but stagnant water still occupies the land and as long as the eye can see on both sides of the road.

Tragedy is rife in Kambar-Shahdadkot, one of the worst affected districts in Sindh, due to torrential rains and flash floods. People stricken by poverty are now battling hunger, disease, heat and the sheer negligence of the authorities.

For miles people were left to fend for themselves. They don’t have tents, food and drinking water. Flood-affected people and animals bathe and drink in the standing water that remains for days. Mothers also bathed their babies in dirty water while washing clothes. The lack of sanitation further aggravates their miseries.

In Qubo Saeed Khan, people’s eyes widened as they pointed out that the government-owned wheat storehouse within arm’s length was first destroyed by the rains and has now started to stink from the floodwaters. raw, but they weren’t allowed to use it. .

Despite high demands from relevant authorities – ranging from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to provincial bigwigs and from national and provincial disaster management authorities (NDMA and PDMA) to local government, the most common complaint from the public was a line . : no one has come to help us yet from the government side.

The authorities specifically responsible for providing relief could not be found, the declarations seemed to be a mere eyewash and aerial visits have not yet gone beyond the optics.

Most people had erected tents with the help of charpoys. They spent days in a makeshift tent in scorching heat without even having two meals a day. Although the authorities have drilled roads, including the one linking Sind to Baluchistan, the fields which extend over hectares nevertheless look like huge lakes.

Besides not having proper tents, the biggest problem right now is not having clean drinking water; people drink contaminated water; water-borne diseases are on the rise; and children are the hardest hit.

Several people alleged that even tents were sold for Rs3,500, adding that they did not receive the Rs25,000 announced by the government. “People are starving, why is the government doing this to us,” Qurban Ali said. “What is our fault, what have we done.”

Qurban, like many others, was furious with the elected representatives, saying they had failed to visit them let alone bring any relief. “No one from the government has come to see us yet,” he said. “If someone claims they came here, you can hold us responsible.”

People said those visiting preferred to pass quickly.

“Even a greater tragedy is unfolding,” said a doctor at the government hospital The Express Grandstand. As he was a government employee, he therefore did not want to be identified to avoid any problems.

But he wants the message sent to the authorities and the outside world that soon people, especially children, will start dying here.

“The biggest problem is the lack of drinking water. In the last 2 days alone, 3 children have died due to waterborne diseases,” the helpless doctor said. “Please take this urgent message to the highest ranks. Tell them to do something,” he called out in a desperate plea.

Just two days ago, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Shadatkot with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He took an aerial view of the devastation and then distributed checks and other relief goods to people affected by the floods.

Despite the images of the Prime Minister with the flood victims, there were little or no signs of a government effort on the ground. On a stretch of 100 kilometers, there was only one small visible relief camp which was set up by the PDMA. Even the camp was located in a place where there were hardly any casualties.

While federal and provincial authorities have blamed record rains this monsoon season for the disaster, locals insist the provincial government is to blame for the disaster.

“When our area was flooded, we desperately sought help from the irrigation department, but they said it was not their job,” said Zarar Khan Mengal. The Express Grandstandwhile showing the damaged and destroyed houses of his village.

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