KARACHI - As anticipated, Karachi has started receiving thousands of people displaced by recent floods in different parts of Sindh and a provincial government estimate suggests more than 50,000 people have already arrived and are currently living in camps set up by local administration in the metropolis.

On an average some 3,000 to 4,000 flood-affected people from several calamity-hit districts of the province are reaching the city on a daily basis. The fresh numbers and estimates were discussed at a meeting of the city chapter of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), where party leaders, legislators and ministers discussed the emerging challenges, the impact of the flood and its repercussions.

Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, who is also the president of the PPP’s Karachi division, chaired the meeting that discussed the rehabilitation of the flood victims, their current status and a relief strategy.

During the discussion, it emerged that the flood, which left hundreds of thousands of people homeless in different parts of Sindh, had forced a large number of victims to travel to Karachi where they were staying in camps set up by the provincial government.

At the same time, it was also admitted by the ruling party that certain elements were exploiting the situation and in the garb of flood victims, they could execute their criminal plans.

“So far, some 50,000 [flood-hit] people have already arrived in Karachi,” Minister Ghani told the meeting, according to a party statement. “All these people are staying in the camps set up by the Sindh government in Sachal Goth, and districts East, West and Keamari.”

He said that all the people reached Karachi of their own choice. “There are reports that some land grabbers and criminal elements want to defame the flood victims by using their name for their vested interests.”

Special Assistant to Chief Minister and PPP’s Sindh general secretary Waqar Mehdi told the meeting that the provincial government was arranging medical facilities at all camps where the flood victims were staying. He also informed that the party was not collecting any cash donation and if anyone wanted to pay, he/she should deposit it to the Sindh government’s relief account.

Sindh Minister for Women Development Syeda Shehla Raza, who is also the PPP Sindh’s information secretary, stressed for more focus on women and children, the most vulnerable segments among the flood- hit people, and called for special attention on their needs.

“There’s no shortage of food in the [Karachi’s] camps where the flood victims are staying,” she briefed the meeting. “But we need to be more focused on the needs of women and children. We have already initiated our efforts for the specific goods used by women and children.”

She said: “We have asked all the relief organisations to dispatch ration goods to rural parts of Sindh as they aren’t needed at the camps. We here at the camps need milk for children and products specifically used by women.”

PPP MPA from Malir Muhammad Sajid Jokhio shared the number of people moved in different Karachi districts from rural Sindh in less than a week and said the trend was likely to continue as the infrastructure, resources and livelihood resources in the rural areas had vanished in the recent floods and it would take time to get them rebuilt. “In Malir district, some 25,000 flood victims from different Sindh areas are staying. According to a rough estimate, some 3,000 to 4,000 people [from rural Sindh] are arriving [Karachi] daily,” he said, suggesting: “We should set up a tent city along the Northern Bypass instead of offering them to stay in different parts of the city.”