KARACHI - Following the expected heavy rains and floods forecast by Meteorological Department, the Sindh government on Tuesday declared emergency in the province, directing the provincial departments and districts administration to take precautionary, preventive and proactive measures.
An emergency meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah at CM Secretariat, reviewed the preparations to shift people safer places and provide relief in case of heavy rains and floods, which has been predicted in the southern parts of Sindh from Tuesday with thunder storms. The Relief and Irrigation Departments have prepared a pre-monsoon report, showing the possible affects as well as steps taken by them. The provincial departments and districts’ administration (commissioners and deputy commissioners) were directed to hold frequent meetings for reviewing the latest situation of rains and providing information to the public in this regard. To meet the relief expenditures, the meeting was informed that all necessary funds are being released immediately to meet the expenditures for relief measures particularly to evacuate people, provision of tents and supply of floods to them. The meeting decided that the provincial ministers, MNAs and MPAs would oversee and monitor the relief and disaster management work in their respective districts. The meeting also decided that if needed, the army would be called for help to rescue the people. The CM directed that dewatering pumping machines, fiber boats, tents, mosquito nets and food items should be provided in each district.
Besides, leaves of the irrigation and other departments employees were also cancelled by the Sindh government. The commissioners and deputy commissioners were directed to remain in their districts concerned during the rains. Official sources told TheNation that the pre-monsoon report prepared by the Irrigation Department identified 45 areas as sensitive in terms of possible erosion in canals or drain nullahs, breach or blow out of water, high cut-off, sandy and treacherous soil in the province, which may cause more losses by inundating the areas. In the report, the Irrigation Department claimed that so far 72 percent progress has been achieved in restoration of drainage system.
President Asif Ali Zardari had directed the Irrigation Department to complete the rehabilitation and strengthening of natural flows of water and irrigation canals by June 30. The deadline given by the president is to expire this week on June 30, but the Irrigation Department has failed to complete short-term plan, which include strengthening of canals’ embankments and removal of hurdles coming in the way of the natural storms/rain water in the province.
The sources said that strengthening of Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) has not been completed so far as people of Badin district are in fear again in case of heavy rains because over one million people of this district suffered displacement due to breaches occurred in the LBOD last year. The Irrigation Department has spent Rs1.5billion for restoration of drainage system including repairing of LBOD. However, in the phase-II, the irrigation department has demanded Rs3.990billion for restoration of drainage system including activation of natural ways of rainwater to be completed in December 2013. However, in the short-term and long-term plan (phase 1 and 2), the irrigation department has estimated total amount of Rs8.990 billion for the restoration of drainage system, official report of department confirmed.
Meanwhile, the chief minister directed that all departments and agencies are fully ready to meet the challenges in view of past experiences. He stressed that all departments and everybody concerned should remain fully prepared. He also directed commissioners and deputy commissioners of the province to hold frequent meetings for reviewing the latest situation of rains. Qaim also stressed that people should be informed about latest and timely situation while plans should be fully implemented. He said that all necessary funds were being released immediately to meet the expenditures for relief measures particularly the shifting of people; provision of tents and supply of floods to affected people.
Provincial Secretary for Rehabilitation Syed Sohail Akbar Shah in his detailed report informed that this is 5th meeting in connection with pre-monsoon rains, which are expected in particularly in Central Balochistan and Coastal areas of Sindh province.
He highlighted the measures with regard to evacuation of vulnerable areas, for which Deputy Commissioners have to follow the contingency plan and should get people evacuated to safer places. He stressed that relief goods be provided in districts well in time, so that they can meet the requirement timely.
Divisional commissioners including Ghulam Hussain Memon of Mirpurkhas, Ahmed Bux Narejo of Hyderabad, Roshan Ali Shaikh of Karachi, Inamullah Dharejo of Sukkur and Abdul Aleem Lashari of Larkana informed the meeting about preparedness made to combat the situation in case of heavy rains.
Commissioner Mirpurkhas informed that work on LBOD is going on but there are problems of culverts. He added that the erosions in the canal of LBOD have been cleared and camps are being established. He informed that a flood protective embankment has been established around the Mirpurkhas.
Commissioner of Hyderabad, Karachi, Larkana and Sukkur gave brief about measures and arrangements so far made. Senior Member, Board of Revenue/Relief Commissioner SindhShahzor Shamoon, provincial secretaries of Irrigation, Finance, Works and Services, Education, Health and Livestock departments apprised the meeting about arrangements.Provincial Ministers for Finance, Irrigation, Rehabilitation and Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh for Relief department also spoke in the meeting.