KARACHI-Sindh Information Minister, Sharjeel Inam Memon, on Friday, said that providing relief to the farmers is the first priority of Sindh government so that they could be able to sow crops of upcoming season.

The minister, in a statement issued here, said that recent heavy rains, besides destroying standing crops, inflicted damages to 3,773,707 acres out of 4,070,614 acres cultivable land in the province. He said that Sindh government has fixed the support price for new wheat crop at Rs.4000 per 40 kg to provide relief to the farmers. Apart from this, steps were being taken to defer recovery of agricultural loans, he added. Sindh government has formed committees to collect accurate data on the damages and those committees would start their survey from coming Monday, he informed.

Water level at two barrages on Indus River in Sindh has receded below 100,000 cusec as inflow at Guddu Barrage was recorded at 87,300 cusec and outflow at 76,000 cusec while inflow and outflow at Sukkur barrage was recorded 92200 and 82000 cusec respectively; Sharjeel Memon said adding that inflow at Kotri barrage was 203,100 cusec and the outflow 199,300 cusec. He said that flood water from some areas has been drained out and IDPs have started returning to their homes. Victims from government schools in different areas of Hyderabad like UC Tando Hyder, UC Musa Khatian and other areas had returned to their homes, he added. 

The district administration was providing transport facilities, tents and rations to the victims returning to their homes from the relief camp, Sharjeel said. Giving update on flood situation the information minister said that 4 more precious lives have been lost and total number of deaths reached at 728 people while 8422 got injured.  He further added that 26,506 cattle were reported dead taking the total to 340,015.

According to the report received, 1,061,788 houses have been partially damaged and 720,799 destroyed completely, he said adding that department of Works and Services had reported that 2548 government buildings have been damaged due to recent rains and flood. 

He said that relief activities were continue and 295,093 tents, 281,669 plastic tarpaulins, 2,309,809 mosquito nets, 749,762 litres of mineral water, 40,575 jerry cans, 7,579 pillows, 4,620 bed sheets and other relief materials have been provided to the flood affected people while ration bags have been given to 777120 families.