Sindhs’ faulty drainage system can’t cope with climate-induced flooding – Global problems

A family evacuated from flooding did not receive the promised tent or mosquito net. Credit: Altaf Hussain Jamali / IPS
  • by Zofeen Ebrahim (karachi)
  • Associated Press Service

They had enough. With their house submerged in water more than 10 meters deep, they had to sleep under the open sky for nearly a month, living in conditions without humans. Surrounded by contaminated water, disease and death lurk the villagers. If the day had to endure the scorching sun, there would be little respite at night when an army of mosquitoes attacked them.

They want to return to their village or whatever is left of those villages. But because of that, the floodwaters of their homes had to recede.

How did Pangrio get so much floodwater?

Ghulam Ghaus looked at the ominous, black water beside the tent and said he had lost 60 acres of land on which he had grown cotton, tomatoes and millet. “A week before the water came in, I was happiest because the plants were doing so well. We’ve heard of flooding in other areas, but it hasn’t reached our land yet, but then overnight the water came in and it was four meters high, and now it’s increasing every day. . “

Follow Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) it rained 177.5mm versus the average 63.1mm, making July the wettest since 1961. “July 2022 rainfall is above average for Balochistan (+450%) and Sindh (+307pc). Both have been ranked as the wettest places of the past 62 years,” said PMD’s monthly summary.

A third of the country has been affected, while more than 1,500 yen people were killed and a little 13,000 won injured since June 14, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan were hardest hit, with floods engulfing entire villages, inundating farmland and wiping out crops. The loss of 1,017,423 livestock is huge for this agricultural country.

But the flood water in Pangrio is not all rainwater. “This is contaminated water,” Ghaus said, pointing to the black, stagnant water at the edge of the embankment where he stood. He continued: “It was the wastewater from the sugar mills in Mirpur Khas that flooded our villages and lands.

“Actually it was water from Puran Dhoro burst, a flooded canal, which flooded these villages,” Sindh’s Minister of Water Resources, Jam Khan Shoro, corrected. Violations continued to increase, and on 28 August many villages in Badin’s four confederation councils, “covering an estimated population of 50,000”, were flooded.

These villagers have asked the government to drain and release water into the adjoining district of Tharparkar – but this is an impossible solution, according to the minister.

“We will have to relocate and destroy the homes and lands of 50,000 other people,” Shoro said. “That’s not reasonable,” he added.

“Back in the 1920s, before the water of Indus was filtered by barges, the Puran was a natural storm drain that took excess water from the Indus during monsoons when the river swelled and discharged into Shakoor Dhand ( a saucer-shaped Shoro explains, a seasonal desert wetland that becomes swampy only when there is a good monsoon) in the Tharparkar district and parts of it in India,” explains Shoro.

After the barges were built, the amount of water from the Indus decreased. Later, as industries and agriculture developed, Puran’s fresh water mixed with wastewater.

“India opposes the discharge of Puran pollution into Shakoor Dhand, and so in the early 80s, with the help of the World Bank, Pakistan began construction of the Left Bank Sewer (which takes water from Nawabshah, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas and Umerkot) are connected to Puran. It can drain 4,000 cusecs of mixed water output into the Arabian Sea,” Shoro lays out the foundation of LBOD, a controversial drain.

“LBOD was unable to accommodate the 13,000 cusecs of the cataclysm coming from the northern part of Sindh, and we are constantly on the alert that it should not develop breaches,” Shoro said. Now the water pressure has dropped significantly.

Finally, on the night of September 22, almost a month later, the government plugged the holes made in Puran, and the water is now flowing, returning to the LBOD. The minister explained: It took a long time because the canal was completely flooded, the current was very strong, only accessible by boat.

The minister said this would allow water to recede from sunken villages in Badin and into the Arabian Sea. “But it will take about a month, until the end of the month,” said Shoro.

Tariq Bashir, from the flood-affected village of Mohammad Din, does not believe this. His village has been surrounded by water up to 5 meters deep since a month ago. “It seems to me that the water will recede soon. And even if it goes away and we can sow for the next crop, the yield will be very poor due to the soil being flooded with acidic water.”

The village of Jerrar Bheel, one of 15 villages, with about 70-100 households, on the outskirts of Pangrio, was completely submerged. It’s the Sindhi you’ve been watching on your television screen for months.

Inam Baksh Mallah has been saving villagers for the past three weeks in his small wooden boat, bringing them safely to the embankment. “I didn’t reach most of the estranged people,” he said. The district government assigns him the task of evacuating the villagers. “I started at 7 a.m. and continued until midnight,” he said.

Along with rescuing everyone, he also brought along whatever belongings people wanted to get out of their sunken house. Rope beds seem to be the most coveted. Jama Malook, mother of eight, said: “It is dangerous to sleep on the embankment with water flowing on both sides,” said Jama Malook, mother of eight, concerned that snakes caused by standing water could slip in the water. night and bite her family. She was able to get four beds from her home.

Ghulam Mustafa, a farmer, waved at what has now become a lake and said, “This is about 8 to 10 feet deep, and up until three weeks ago you could see cottonwoods and trees. jantar (a grass used as forage). ); these are ready to be harvested.”

Submerged villages, only their roofs visible, seem to be gasping for their last breath before sinking completely under the water.

Malook, a woman, was able to evacuate the village to the embankment walking in “chest-deep water” just in time. But lost 25 sheep with it. “I helped our elderly neighbor, Rehmat,” while her husband carried her paralyzed 90-year-old mother, Baghi Khabar, to the dry land.

Lying in a tent with no air, Khabar had not eaten for the past two days and did not recognize his loved ones, Malook said. She and her sister-in-law took turns cleaning her every few hours because she couldn’t help it.

“It’s not easy to take care of her here, in the open sky,” Malook said. “It took us about 20 minutes to get the water because we didn’t have a big enough tank to hold the water. So we do multiple rounds in a day, and it gets tiring in this heat,” she said. and talk more about home. right outside their mud house.

If there’s one thing Shoro is sure of after witnessing the suffering of people like Malook and other villagers, it’s that “we shouldn’t interfere with nature”. He refers to the man-made LBOD that changed the natural water flow to go from Puran Dhoro to Shakoor Dhand.

Report of the United Nations Office IPS

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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