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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his meeting with Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif through video link from CM House told him that his province has received 369 percent more rains in ongoing monsoon that have killed 93 people, including 47 children and damaged 2807 houses completely, while affecting 388 kilometres roads connecting rural areas to cities.

“The serious situation calls for a support of the federal government to compensate for the losses of life, infrastructure, crops and houses.” He said the Zarai Taraqiati bank may be directed to defer recovery of its loans from growers in Sindh.”

The prime minister’s meeting in Islamabad was attended by the chief ministers and chief secretaries through video link.

Syed Murad Ali Shah briefing the prime minister said that his province received heavy rainfall in the month of July. He said that the rainfall recorded till now was almost 369 percent more than average rainfall recorded in Sindh. He said that megacity Karachi received over all 556mm rains during three spells.

The chief minister said 35 sewerage lines of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) were affected at different locations across the megacity and three bridges in West and Malir districts have been affected badly. He added that major roads of Karachi such as EBM causeway and others have also been severely affected.

Shah said that approximately 388.5 km of roads connecting different areas of the cities and Talukas have also been damaged. He added that various major streets in urban centres like Karachi, Hyderabad, Badin, Sukkur, Thatta, Sujawal and Dadu have been partially damaged. He said 89,213 acres of standing crop have been submerged or washed away.

Murad Ali Shah giving details of the relief efforts taken by his government said that 62 truck-mounted heavy dewatering pumps of PDMA were stationed at various districts for immediate dewatering of rainwater. He added that 30 out of 62 pumps were stationed in Karachi, in addition to the already deployed dewatering pumps by various departments. He said that as of now, 6280 tents, 17,675 mosquito nets, 20 boats with OBM, 3,280 Jerry cans, and other relief items, including folding beds, pillows, bed sheets and life jackets have been provided to the rain-affected families. He said that 300 ration bags have been provided to district Jamshoro. In addition, cooked food and drinking water was also being provided to the rain affectees wherever needed.

Discussing anticipated issues, Murad Shah said that Balochistan was likely to receive more rains for another week, which would further aggravate the existing situation of Hub Dam and adjoining areas of Karachi. He added that the excessive rains at Khirthar range might result in further increase of in-flow of water in Kamber Shahdadkot, Dadu and Jamshoro districts.

Giving details of the flood situation at Guddu, the CM said that in the River Indus at Guddu is currently flowing at 283.4 (thousands of Cusecs) which was at low flood level. “However, in next 24 hours the level is expected to rise from 290 to 340 (thousands of Cusecs).” He said further in-flow of water beyond 400 (thousands of cusecs) would require evacuation of population residing in Katcha areas.

The chief minister discussing a long term solution suggested raising and strengthening of flood protection embankments adjoining Balochistan in order to minimize the risk of flash flooding in Sindh. He also requested the prime minister to support the strengthening and capacity enhancement of the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD).

Shah said that the early completion of the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) was also needed besides upgradation of storm water drainage system in Karachi. He said that a huge amount of money was required to carry out all these works; therefore, the funds recovered from Bahria Town may be provided to the Sindh government for construction of Nullas and other important civil engineering works.

The prime minister assured the chief minister that he would help him in handing over the money recovered from Bahria Town to Sindh.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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