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Bilawal slams 'Centre's apathy' to flood-hit people of rural Sindh.

Byline: Qamaruddin and Imtiaz Dharani

MITHI/MIRPURKHAS -- Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday lashed out at the federal government for doing nothing for the flood- and rain- affected people of rural Sindh.

Speaking to the people at relief camps set up in the Cattle Farm and in Naukot Fort in Tharparkar district, he said the National Disaster Management Authority was not playing its due role in providing the required assistance to the affected people of Sindh. He said the NDMA needed to be restructured so that its officials could help every person of the country in time of their need.

He said the federal government had only taken up the task of carrying out cleaning work of three drains in Karachi, but ignored millions of people affected by recent rains and floods in other parts of Sindh.

The PPP chairman said that it was the prime responsibility of the federal government to provide relief to the people in the wake of natural calamities, adding that the Sindh government did not have enough resources to provide relief and proper compensation for the massive losses to all affected people and to rehabilitate them. Even then, he added, the provincial government would extend support to the victims of rains and floods.

During visits to Naukot, Mirpurkhas, PPP leader asks Sindh govt to provide relief to affected people

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the democratic forces would soon force the 'selected government' to go home. He said the PTI leaders, instead of pressuring their top leadership to announce a relief package for the affected people, were only busy in photo sessions and exploiting the sensitive conditions in the rain-battered districts. The Sindh government was all set to announce a relief package for them, he added.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari also visited the site of a breach in the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) near Satoon Mike town and inspected the ongoing repair work to plug the breach and fortify the dykes which had developed a wide breach some six days ago during heavy rains.

He directed the officials concerned to further strengthen the weak points of the biggest drain of the country to avoid such flooding in future.

Later, the PPP chairman met the rain-affected people living in the area. Accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, the provincial ministers and lawmakers, Mr Bhutto-Zardari visited a tent city where relief camps have been established at sand dunes.

The PPP chairman told the rain-affected people that the Sindh government would never leave them alone in their difficult time and would provide them with relief as long as they were living in tents.

He said the provincial government would continue to do its best to mitigate the sufferings of people who had been hit hard by the recent flash floods in several districts of Sindh due to unprecedented heavy rains.

He said he had arrived in the affected areas to meet the people to ascertain their grievances so that remedial measures could be taken to provide maximum relief to them.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said he had already directed the chief minister and his cabinet members to make concerted efforts to drain out water and resettle the displaced persons in all the affected areas of the province. He said that despite limited resources available to the Sindh government, it was providing assistance to the affected people and would continue to support them so that they could resume their routine life in their houses.

Earlier, the PPP chairman directed the Sindh government to take special measures to provide relief to the people affected by rains and flood in the province. He said that all-out measures should be adopted to provide food, drinking water, tents and mosquito nets to the people displaced from their houses by the recent torrential rains and flood.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari issued the directives during meetings with different delegations of the PPP office-bearers, MNAs, MPAs, provincial ministers and irrigation officers during his visit to Mirpurkhas which has been battered by heavy rains.

He noted that millions of people had been marooned, 80 per cent of standing crops damaged and small traders badly affected due to the flood-like condition in various rural areas of Sindh. However, he added, the provincial government would bear the losses people had suffered.

Sindh Irrigation Minister Sohail Anwar Sial informed the PPP chief about the breaches developed in the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) network, the serious condition created by the breaches and the measures being taken to plug the breaches.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that comprehensive planning was needed to prevent such kind of devastation in future and directed the Sindh government to prepare and implement a plan to save the lives and properties of people in future.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, MNAs Mir Munawar Talpur and Shamim Ara Panhwar, provincial ministers Hari Ram Kishori Lal, Sardar Shah and Shabbir Bijarani and PPP leaders Taimoor Talpur, Sharjeel Memon, Syed Zulfikar Shah, Arbab Lutufullah, Shugufta Jamani, Imdad Pitafi, Mahesh Malani and Haji Noor Ahmed Bhurgari were present on the occasion.

Earlier, Director of Nara Canal Mansoor Memon briefed Mr Bhutto-Zardari on weak banks of the LBOD network and Dhoro Puran with the help of maps showing sites of the breaches. He also spoke about the affected people, devastation of standing crops and houses and huts and presented a plan for draining out the stagnant floodwater towards the sea.

He said the devastation occurred owing to the weak banks of LBOD drains as overtopping was common and the drains developed wide breaches and as a result floodwater rushed towards the towns and villages and inundated them. He also presented a plan to prevent such kind of disaster in future.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari directed the Sindh chief minister to allocate the required funds for strengthening weak banks of the LBOD network, Dhoro Puran and irrigation canals.
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Author:Qamaruddin and Imtiaz Dharani
Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 9, 2020
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