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HYDERABAD: Prominent intellectuals, writers, agriculture and irrigation experts, social leaders and human rights workers of Sindh have criticised the negligence of government officials and their failure to cope with unprecedented destruction caused by rains and floods in the province.

An emergency meeting under the auspices of SAFCO to discuss post-rains situations in Sindh expressed grave concerns over displacement of millions of people, hundreds of deaths, and the destruction of roads, lands and properties.

It was demanded that a health emergency should be immediately announced in the province and adequate food and medical facilities should be provided to the disaster-affected people, otherwise a major human tragedy may occur.

Former Advocate General and Supreme Court Bar leader Yusuf Laghari, SAFCO Founder Suleiman G. Abro, intellectual Jami Chandio, Ramesh Gupta and others addressing the meeting said that there is no example of such a disaster in the recent history of Sindh. The rains and floods have completely destroyed the agricultural economy and infrastructure of Sindh.

About 4 million acres of agricultural land and the crops standing on it were destroyed, thousands of cattle heads were killed, small businesses, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges have been destroyed in floods and the losses are increasing day by day. They said that a huge budget is kept for LBOD every year but due to lack of desilting, water kept flowing over the bridges.

In the meeting, a 'Civil Society Watch Forum' was established to monitor the conditions of the flood victims and government performance.

Addressing the meeting, Yusuf Laghari said that the decision of the Supreme Court to end the encroachment on the natural waterways could not be implemented, against which we should go to the Supreme Court with the statistics of the flood damage from this forum. He said the apex court should bind the government to a timeframe as to when these occupations will be removed.

Jami Chandio said that there is a lot of pressure on Hyderabad and surrounding areas by the displaced people. He suggested to first visit the officially declared camp to know the problems of the victims and give suggestions to the government to resolve them. He said that there is a high probability of more deaths of children and women due to mosquitoes, diseases and lack of medical treatment.

Suleman G Abro said that this disaster was caused only by monsoon floods. He said millions of acres of land have already been destroyed by LBOD and RBOD, water. He said that in the 55-year history of Sindh, no such heavy rain was ever seen. He said due to the lack of cooperation and communication between government agencies including NDMA and PDMA, no preparations were made beforehand, which caused so much damage.

Dr Ismail Kumbhar said that this disaster is happening due to the blocking of natural water channels. He said the rains started from June 20 but the government did not take any necessary step. If the standing water on the land is not drained out, then wheat cannot be cultivated and after two months, and a serious crisis may arise regarding food security.

He said that to overcome the food crisis, the government should increase trade with neighbouring countries and import green vegetables and grains at cheap prices. He added that there should be immediate planning for communication and management of the camps to train people on how to live there and how to deal with the situation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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