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    Poor Hit Hardest by Pakistan’s Catastrophic Flood

    EnvironmentClimate changePoor Hit Hardest by Pakistan’s Catastrophic Flood
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    Poor Hit Hardest by Pakistan’s Catastrophic Flood

    Official say that this year Sindh received at least five times more rain than the average monsoon. The total loss to infrastructure and economy is yet to be calculated as some parts of the country are still expected to witness rains.

    By Fakhar Alam

    Dawood Kandhro village near Naseerabad, about 43 kilometers from Larkana, was nestled on the banks of the Dhamrah Wah (canal). Was – it exists no longer.

    Most villagers were poor peasants with very little land. The canal embankment breached late August, unable to bear the pressure from millions of cusecs of water, flooding the village. The currents tore away their land and stripped the surroundings.

    Residents of Dhamrah Wah, some 400 families in all, are now camped in Karachi, hundreds of kilometres away. They have nothing to go back to.

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    These women, men and children are the latest climate migrants.

    Shaukat Kandharo, a poor peasant from Dawoon Kandhro, said, “If the embankments of the canals were not breached, our village would not have been submerged.”

    “We lost everything when our homes were inundated. The flood waters left us only with the clothes we had on our person,” he said. “We lost livestock and the food-grains we had stocked”, he said.

    “People from adjacent villages brought us food and other essential items for us. They told us to leave this village and shift to another safe place because it was completely submerged.”

    “We are now at government school in Sachal Goth, Karachi and people from the Memon community are providing us with food.”

    The district administration has allowed them to stay at the government school – which has only one washroom.

    Another flood affected peasant from Dawood Kandhro, Ghulam Mohammad said, “we lost everything due to recent monsoon rains. We don’t have anything left to feed our family. We now have to start our life with nothing.”

    “We have to stand in long queues for foods and other things. Sometimes, we succeed in getting foods and other stuff. Most often, we fail.”

    Climate change

    For Shaukat Kandharo and Ghulam Mohammad, the cause behind their village getting wiped off the map is that neither the embankments were strengthened nor repaired for years.

    Experts, of course, fault climate change.

    Official say that this year Sindh received at least five times more rain than the average monsoon. The total loss to infrastructure and economy is yet to be calculated as some parts of the country are still expected to witness rains.

    Several cities and towns in Sindh province have been completely inundated. Standing crops over millions of hectares with food grain worth billions have been washed away.

    After devastating Larkana, the flood torrents raged in Dadu district where the water from the rains and overflowing rivers inundated the Mehar and the Khairpur Nathan Shah talukas of the Dadu district and later, the Sujawal Junejo taluka of Kambar-Shahdadkot district, sweeping away homes, farms, businesses, infrastructure and roads.

    The Sindh Provincial Disaster Management Authority says that the calamity has affected 1,07,48,295 from 5,727 communities or dehs of 102 talukas of 24 districts in the province. 7,06,6,787 have been displaced and 5,75,037 persons are in relief camps. Hundreds have died and many more have been injured. Livestock has perished.

    According to the World Health Organisation, more than 6.4 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid in Pakistan. Environmentalist say that Pakistan is responsible for less than one per cent of greenhouse gases emissions, and yet it is among the top ten countries currently suffering from climate change.

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