Torrential rain has increased water levels in Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) in Badin district, frightening the people of the area already vulnerable to floods.
Reports gathered by The News from southern districts reveal that the ‘Main Spinal Drain’ carrying rain water from Nawabshah, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas and Umerkot districts have created an alarming situation for the people of Badin who live at the tail end of the drain.
Yasin Tunio, manager Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), monitoring the emergency situation in Badin and Thatta districts said that seeing the rising level in LBOD, efforts are being made to divert the water to Puran Dhoro (Drain) from RD - 245 between Pangrio and Naokot to lessen the pressure.
Nevertheless the water pressure is still increasing, as the outlets do not have the capacity to carry more water. However, Main Spinal Drain is overflowing and has inundated link roads connecting Roshanabad, Malkani and surrounding areas.
Prof Ismail Kumbhar of Agriculture University Tando Jam, who has been involved in research in tail end areas told The News that the capacity of major LBOD drain is 4500 cusec only, while it is expected to carry 9000 cusecs within couple of days. In his understanding, Badin is receiving low intensity rains but the drains carrying water from upper districts may affect the people in the district.
Quoting the gauges installed by the government, Kumbhar said “presently water level is touching 12.7ft, which means only 1 foot is left, as previously the LBOD embankment was broken at 13.5ft water.”
After the 2011 floods, the government had launched projects for de-siltation of the drains and plugging up damaged embankments. Since the work was not done satisfactorily, the people of the area are feeling unsafe due to continuous rains.
Umerkot has received most rainfall this season which has inundated wide areas in the district. There are fears that if rain continues at present intensity, it may cause displacement of the people from low lying areas.
Districts like Nawabshah, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Badin were affected badly by last year’s flood and several families could not return to the areas to this day.
Responding to the alarming situation, Sindh Relief Ministry has developed a camp office in Hyderabad to monitor the emergency. It aims to initiate rescue and relief operations if needed.
On Sunday morning, Relief Minister Haleem Adil Shaikh, Sindh Fisheries Minister Zahid Ali Bhurgari and Commissioner Hyderabad Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo, and other relevant officials visited affected areas in the city, which reportedly received 57 millimeter rain on Saturday and Sunday nights.
The officials observed the worst situation as the rain water has inundated almost all low lying areas in the city. People complained that there are heaps of garbage everywhere and sanitation staff, associated with different Towns Municipal Administrations, did not remove the waste.
While visiting the areas, Mazharul Haque Chaudhri, PML-Q Hyderabad leader accused the TMAs of not removing garbage from different areas since the last nine months.
“Whenever we have approached concerned authorities they responded poorly, as a result, we are seeing the main roads and streets flooded,” he said.
Commissioner Hyderabad Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo visiting the sites, admitted that all the relevant agencies are responsible for the situation.
Both the ministers criticized the role of Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa), Hyderabad Electricity Supply Company (Hesco) and TMAs. However, the Wasa officials said they do not have dewatering machines.
It was learned that the district administration has employed dewatering machines to pump out the water but since there were prolonged power failures they could not clean the water from affected areas.
Almost all pumping stations were not functioning properly. Generators were abandoned because of unavailability of diesel. In this regard, the officials demanded the Relief Department to provide funds for diesel.
A convoy of ministers and officials of relevant departments visited flooded Railway Colony, Panhwar Goth, Bhitai Colony and other neighbourhoods, where stagnant rain water was causing problems for the local people. Rain water has inundated entire Makrani para where the people stranded as water entered their houses from clogged drains.
The Relief minister directed all TMAs, DC, Wasa officials to clean the stagnant water immediately from the affected areas and find a permanent solution. He assured the District Commissioners that they will receive funds in the face of emergency.