Thousands trapped in Pakistan

2011-09-18 08:31

Tando Allahyar - In Pakistan's fertile south, a grim-faced soldier found himself in a standoff with 100 flood-stricken protesters demanding help for their communities marooned by the surging water.

"We won't leave until you come with us to save our families," a defiant Ali Mohammad, 27, told the soldier. "Hundreds of our villagers are trapped in the flood waters but we can't find anyone to help us rescue them."

A year after Pakistan's worst ever floods, the lush southern lands of Sindh are inundated once more, and angry villagers were desperate for help for their families who had escaped several feet of floodwater by sitting on their roofs.

A heated argument ended with a promise that the army would return to help the thousands of marooned residents in Tando Allahyar district, one of the areas worst affected by the deluge.

"We are going to save people in another town - this delay will risk their lives," the soldier said.

Thousands homeless

Official figures show the floods have killed nearly 300 people and affected 5.8 million since monsoon rains began last month - leaving hundreds of thousands living under open skies on hills and along highways.

The number affected is far lower than the 21 million hit by the record floods in 2010, when nearly one billion dollars was given in foreign aid and civilian authorities were accused of a woeful response to the disaster.

Now with Sindh province - worst-hit last year - again swamped and the response not keeping pace Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has cancelled a visit to the UN General Assembly in New York to see the aid effort in progress.

Islamabad also asked the UN to issue a fresh international appeal for flood donations.

Fewer relief camps have been set up this year and many victims have erected makeshift huts using bamboo, shawls and sheets.

Visits to Tando Allahyar, Badin, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar districts in Sindh showed scores of towns and villages submerged under rainwater that overflowed from drains and canals and swept down from neighbouring mountains.

Submerged town

"Our town is completely submerged. So are dozens of surrounding villages," said Qasim Mallah, 61, a fisherman from Pangrio town in Badin district, 100km  south of Tando Allahyar.

"Most people have left the town, but some have stayed to safeguard their properties from looters," he said.

One rescue worker, Suleman Abro, said the scale of the disaster was once again too much for authorities to handle.

"There are places where military, navy and international organisations are rescuing them, but the effort is too limited as the scale of disaster is much larger," he said.

In the desert district of Thar, residents cut off from transport links by the flooding told AFP by phone that their homes had been inundated, forcing them to climb nearby sand dunes to stay on dry ground.

Supplies were become scarce, said Thar local Harish Kumar.

Drinking filthy water

"We are desperately waiting for food supplies, as there are too many hungry and thirsty people," he told AFP.

The UN's food agency said it aimed to provide emergency aid to about half a million people by the end of September, then scale up to reach 2.2 million next month, as it appealed for foreign donations to help assist all those in need.

The World Food Programme said it had begun handing out rations in the worst-hit districts, starting with southern Badin.

But many are also facing dire shortages of clean drinking water, leading to outbreaks of acute diarrhoea, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"People are drinking filthy water and getting ill. The disaster is worsening every day, every moment," said Aslam Khwaja, a relief worker from People's Development Foundation.

The UN's children agency said it would distribute 200 000 litres of water to 40 000 people daily and deploy 40 more water tankers in coming days, aiming to ensure access to clean drinking water and avert disease. 

- SAPA
Read more on:    pakistan  |  weather  |  floods
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Jurassic World trailer is epic!
Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.