Pakistan Floods: A Ground Report

August 14, 2010 § 3 Comments

One of our comrades, Saqib Khan, has been out in Sukkur for days now working on flood relief. He sends this update:

So I have been in Sukkur these past 4 days with SRSO. The overall picture is pretty dismal here and as usual the government is largely missing from the picture. There are some tents (shamyana) etc. but they are not really providing any services except water once a day. SRSO is estimating 300,000+ in 2000+ villages affected but I think nobody really has a handle on how many (and that est. was 3 days ago). The actual numbers are probably much higher.
I have now heard of 3 different instances of breaches in bund walls to divert water because some minister was trying to save his crops (or even more cynically trying to drown a rival party member’s fields). The breach near Guddu barrage was deliberate though to try and save Sukkur barrage but our irrigation department really had no idea what they were doing. Entire southern part of Kashmor district was inundated and the water has now flooded through Jacobabad. We are expecting more of that flood to reach Sukkur sometime in the morning.
The number of dead in newspapers I think are gross understatements. I spent a day with WFP worker from Swat who was really pissed that the media is saying 1700 dead in Kyber Pakhtoon. He said its probably closer to 170,000. I think its similar here that no one really knows how many are dead or missing.
SRSO is trying to do relief work here with WFP, USAID and UNICEF. So far they are targeting about 63000 families in 5 districts: Sukkur, Kashmor, Shikarpur, Ghotki and Kairpur, places on both sides of the Indus. They will likely add Jacobabad now. The work is mainly 1 months food supply per family but since there are no designated areas for people to gather, its hard to organize. People have just gathered wherever they are able to. I have no idea how the rehab work will take place because water is everywhere and disease is going to be rampant. This is going to take at least 7 to 8 months before things will start to normalize.
You can check out SRSO web page for more information: http://www.srso.com.pk/ and I do believe they have something for donations up there too. I have also heard that the Sindh government has been running trains from here to Karachi and camps are being set up there – so I think Edhi and the usual/major donation centers are also a good place to give.

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