Mazar Shar, an elderly chieftain of the Mazar Shar village, and his fellow natives were saved miraculously, after five days of being marooned, when they found a rescue boat that shifted them to Dera Allahyar town, Balochistan province.
“After five days, we had lost all hope. We thought we are sitting on rooftops of an island, which is being engulfed in a storm,” he said.
“We were not expecting such floods this time round. The rains inundated the entire area instantly,” he said, while sitting with hundreds of people belonging to different cut-off villages.
Mazar Shar is a remote village in the Jaffarabad district. The chieftain said: “We are 20 families in total. Almost all close relatives were stuck in the village for five days.”
The scattered villages were inundated with about nine—10-feet water. Sharing the haunting experience, he says, they first thought, out of panic, to climb off the rooftops of cemented buildings in the village, but then decided to move to a safe place instead.
“At one point, we realised it was too late to move because minor children and elderly women were unsure about travelling from the flooded village to any unseen destination,” he added.
“We stayed there for five consecutive days on those rooftops,” he exclaimed, “waiting for help, but then we saw flood water increasing. Hence, we started moving to unknown places. The other reason for leaving the trapped village was that we did not have additional food items and clean water.”
“When we decided to wade through the deep water, women and minor children, who were starving, got frightened, saying they could travel such a long distance. But we took them along. It was the only way out to save our lives,” he narrates his plight.
“We were not sure where to move as everywhere we went there was water,” he said.
He accredits a boat, whose crew saw them and came for rescue. “It was the moment we were waiting for and then we saw we were in safe hands.”
“When we reached here, everyone heaved a sigh of relief. After reaching here, some people brought cooked food and water for us.”
All the families of the Mazar Shar village rested under a makeshift shelter while waiting for tents.
Jacobabad city is at a distance of around 25-km from Dera Allahyar.
Hundreds of families were gathered at one place, outside the worst affected Dera Allahyar town. Few lucky families received tents while others waited to get such amenities. Meanwhile, the district government provided cooked food to the affected families.
Some of the families were also worried about the whereabouts of their relatives, who had left their neighbouring villages earlier.
Mir Hassan Mari of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) coordinated rescue boats and teams in Jacobabad and Kashmor districts in Sindh, and in Jaffarabad and Naseerabad districts of the Balochistan province.
A rescued family said: “It is an immeasurable loss to the flood-affected areas between Sindh and Balochistan. Hundreds of families, waiting for rescue teams, are stranded in all these districts. They need food, potable water and tents.”
Initial survey say that hill torrents from mountains areas of Balochistan caused flash floods, inundating a vast area covering almost entire neighboring districts of Sindh and Balochistan. Due to the presence of many low lying and locked areas, the water did not have any way to drain out and remained stagnant. To add to the misery, these areas are still inaccessible due to the massive destruction of roads.