Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday said that it would take three to six months to drain water from the province’s flood-hit areas, as authorities continued to struggle to contain floodwaters that were approaching Dadu city.
Monsoon rainfall and subsequent floods killed 1,396 people across the country between June 14 and September 9, and left 12,728 injured. More than 30 million people have also been displaced.
Sindh is the worst-hit province so far, accounting for the most deaths and injuries. Of the 1,396 fatalities countrywide, Sindh’s total is at 578.
Talking to the media in Karachi, Murad gave a breakdown of the current situation in the province and the losses incurred due to the catastrophic floods.
“The whole world has to come together to combat climate change,” he said, adding that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had also called on the world to “pitch in” to help Pakistan navigate the crisis.
He said that farmers in Sindh had suffered a loss of approximately Rs3.5 billion, while the livestock sector had suffered a loss of Rs50 billion. “I have discussed with the UN secretary-general that we would have to offer an agricultural package, otherwise the grower would not be able to sow Rabi crops,” he said, and added he was trying to dewater agricultural lands so that Rabi crops could be planted by the first week of December.
He said his government was trying to prepare at least 75 per cent of agricultural lands for the wheat crop. “We have lost our standing paddy and cotton crops in this Kharif [season] and would not be able to afford to lose Rabi crops,” he said.
“In some areas, there is at least eight to 10 feet of water. Even in places where it is receding, the situation is not such that people can return,” he said, highlighting that Pakistan had received unprecedented rainfall this year.
“This year, we received 10-11 times the normal amount of rainfall … Normal flood at Guddu and Sukkur is around 400,000 cusecs.”
He said the government was rehabilitating people and working on the province’s drainage and irrigation network. “We think it will take three to six months for the water to drain.”
The Sindh CM admitted that the province was facing a shortage of tents and medicines, saying that he had raised the issue during his meeting with the UN chief.
He said he had released the budget allocated for the purchase of medicines so that flood-affected people facing different ailments could be treated properly. On the other hand, Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali Shah said that heavy machinery had been brought in to deal with the breach at Ring Bund.
On Saturday, water had started flowing towards Dadu city, submerging around 300 villages along the way, following a 500-wide breach in Ring Bund at Pir branch, some 10km from Dadu city.
Floodwater affected parts of Pir Shahnawaz, Kamal Khan and Yar Mohammad Kalhoro of Dadu taluka. In light of the situation, authorities on Saturday also shifted prisoners from Central Jail Dadu to other prisons.