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Trail of destruction as flood water enters Multan villages

12 September, 2014

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JHANG/MULTAN: While the Trimmu Headworks was saved from the peak flood discharge, more than 350 villages in Jhang District were flooded due to the breaches made at two places in Athari Hazari dyke, leaving trail of destruction behind.

As the floodwater moved further south, water level started increasing at Panjnad and had reached 116,000 cusecs, flooding areas in Mittan Kot and 150 villages in Multan District. According to reports, the Trimmu Headworks safely discharged 650,000 cusecs of water on Wednesday-Thursday night and the water level had started receding slowly. On Thursday afternoon, the water discharge was 590,000 cusecs. Three people have been reported killed in Jhang and nine in Chiniot.

Two hundred and ten thousand acres of land has come under water in Jhang. One hundred and thirty two villages have been affected and more than 80,000 acres of cropped land is under water in Chiniot. The water is spread in such a wide area that it is difficult to differentiate between the river and the fields. Affected people in Jhang have complained that they are without relief and do not even have drinking water. In interviews, people at a Jhang relief camp said that they have been provided tents but there is nothing else.

They claimed that those distributing food were resorting to favouritism. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had an aerial view of Trimmu on Thursday and the affected areas. Reports say that the floodwater has started hitting Mittan Kot and Multan. One hundred and fifty villages have been submerged. Shujaabad has also been affected by the floods where so far ten villages are under water and one thousand acres of cotton crop has been destroyed.

Reports say that 800,000 cusecs of water will pass through Shujaabad, and more areas are certain to see devastation. In Chichawatni hundreds of acres of cropped land have come under water due to a breach in the protective bund at East Sial Jhangi. To save Multan and Muzaffargarh from the swollen Chenab River, explosives have been planted to blow up three strategic dykes to divert the floodwater away from the two cities. The army is monitoring important installations and headworks in Multan while the corps commander is directly overseeing the situation.

All schools in the area will remain closed for the next two days. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that 257 people were killed and more than 1.1 million affected in the floods – a figure that includes both those stranded at home and those who fled after the floods hit. Pakistan Army troops have rescued 22,000 people stranded by floodwaters around Punjab and Azad Kashmir. The ISPR said that the army is continuing with its relief work in Athara Hazari, Jhang, Chiniot, Ahmadpur Sial and Pir Kot.

It said that the army is using seven helicopters and 100 boats for the rescue operation. The army has distributed 35 tonnes of food among the flood victims. Meanwhile, the Punjab Cabinet Committee constituted for flood relief in a news conference said that the provincial government will provide Rs 20,000 to each family displaced by the floods before Eidul Azha.

Committee Chairman Shuja Khanzada said 16 helicopters are being used to take trapped people to dry areas. Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin said 184 people were killed in the floods due to rain-related incidents and the provincial government has announced aid of Rs 2 billion for relief and uplifting of the stranded people. Another committee member, Zaeem Qadri, said 140,000 people have been shifted to safer areas out of the estimated 1.8 million affected by the catastrophe.

End.

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