Floods force evacuation in Sindh, Balochistan

August 15th, 2010 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 15 (IANS) Raging waters of the Indus river have flooded Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces, forcing evacuation of 90 percent of the villages. People were forced to shelter under the open skies as they saw their homes being washed away.
The country is grappling with its worst ever floods that have left over 1,600 people dead and affected over 14 million people. A media report put the total economic loss due to the floods at around Rs.250 billion ($2.92 billion).

Hundreds of villages in Jacobabad district in Sindh were under water and national highways and other major roads in the province were cut off from the rest of the country, Geo News reported.

Floodwaters have inundated several villages and the affected people are facing huge problems in relocation due to the unavailability of transportation.

Barrages and dams in the region are all overflowing and the surging floodwaters have washed away sections of railway tracks connecting the province.

The district administration of Jaffarabad in Balochistan province asked the people to evacuate as breaches in a number of embankments on the Indus sent torrents of water rushing in. Police were informing people on loudspeakers about the flood and asking them to move to safer places.

Many mud houses collapsed and people were forced to take refuge on rooftops of administrative buildings.

The Dawn reported that Sindh flood control and irrigation authorities had tried to breach a bypass late Friday night to divert floodwaters to Jaffarabad to save Jacobabad and other areas of the province. The officials had also brought police personnel and heavy machinery to the site to breach the bypass, but the Jaffarabad deputy commissioner opposed the idea and ordered them to stop the work.

Though Federal Sports Minister Ejaz Jakhrani said the breach was necessary to save Jacobabad and the Shahbaz airbase, former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali along with a few armed tribesmen reached the area and said the Sindh authorities would not be allowed to divert the floodwaters.

Local administration officials, police and Jamali tribesman are guarding the bypass, the report said.

The flood-hit people taking shelter in relief camps are awaiting for relief goods and medicines, shortage of food has been reported from different villages.

Angry refugees Saturday ransacked aid vehicles carrying relief goods to flood victims in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province, forcing officials to halt the operation.

Officials from the Poverty Alleviation Fund and International Organisation for Migration told police their vehicles were looted near Jadeywala village by flood-hit people who had reportedly not received relief material.

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