The flooding has wreaked havoc in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts
he rains in July and August on Koh-i-Sulaiman, the largest mountain range in southern Punjab, have caused terrible flooding and wreaked havoc in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts, as well as in Taunsa Sharif tehsil. The hill torrent floods this year have been the worst in the region’s history, rendering a large number of people homeless. Thousands of acres of farm land have been submerged.
At first, the flood warning was not taken seriously. Locals now complain that they were were left at the mercy of the rains and subsequent floods. They say the government was unable also to provide timely rescue and relief.
As a result, the residents of DG Khan and Rajanpur have suffered unprecedented losses. Some people from DG Khan and Rajanpur have since held protest demonstrations in other cities of the Punjab, including Lahore. They say relief activities in the flooded areas have started “after the protest”.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Al-Khidmat Foundation Pakistan, the All Pakistan Kisan Etihad, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan are all working in the area. The Punjab Medical Association, the Teachers’ Association, the Khawaja Farid Foundation and the South Punjab Flood Relief Operation (SPFRO) are also in the field.
36,000 food hampers, 13,000 tents, 2,400 cauldrons of cooked food and bottled water were distributed by the Dera Ghazi Khan administration in the four tehsils of the district between July 26 and August 29.
Mohammad Anwar Briar, the DG Khan deputy commissioner, tells The News on Sunday that 386 flood victims are living in 17 camps set up for the displaced people.
“Sssential facilities are being provided to them,” he says. Briar says that 45 people have died due to the floods. He says 17,732 houses have been destroyed and 212,838 people have been directly affected by the flood. He says 30 excavators, 10 bulldozers, 11 dumpers, 16 tractor trolleys, 149 different vehicles and 20 dewatering sets are currently working to mitigate the flood damage.
Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has waived the water rate collection from the flood affected areas of Rajanpur, Taunsa, Dera Ghazi Khan and Isikhel. The areas have also been declared calamity-hit. The government has announced a policy to compensate people for damages to houses, crops and livestock.
The Pakistan Army is carrying out rescue and relief operations.
The floods have affected more than 300,000 people in Koh-i-Sulaiman, Taunsa, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur. The Punjab government has provided 23,000 tents to the victims.
In Dera Ghazi Khan, more than 200 Civil Defence volunteers are carrying out rescue and relief activities in the affected settlements. Civil Defence volunteers are also being mobilised in Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Multan and other districts of Dera Ghazi Khan.
In the mountainous area of DG Khan district, 25,643 food hampers, 10,734 tents, 15 IDP camps and 1,979 cooking pots have been distributed among the victims.
Over six thousand food hampers, 3,696 tents, and 777 pots have been distributed in Dera Ghazi Khan tehsil while 5,916 food hampers and 1,060 tents have been distributed in Kot Chhata.
As many as 11,467 food hampers, 5,095 tents have been distributed in Taunsa. Five camps have beet set up and 2,000 food hampers and 825 tents have been distributed in Koh-i-Sulaiman.
The South Punjab Relief Operation is as one of the volunteer organisations performing relief activities. Zaeem Imdad Zaidi, one of its leaders, says they have risked their lives driving through the heavily flooded Koh-i-Sulaiman area to reach to people stranded in remote areas.
Tractor trollies are being used in some areas to deliver relief goods. Medical camps have been set up in submerged areas by Al Khidmat Foundation and the South Punjab Relief Operation.
The writer is chief editor of Baithak News, a Multan-based newspaper