More towns in line of water

Survivors use part of a damaged railway track to cross over in a village near Sukkur. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: A flood warning was issued on Tuesday for the town of Chohar Jamali in Thatta district, which is in direct line of the waters of River Indus.

Pressure has increased on the Munarki dyke, where water had been flowing from the breach in Kot Aalmoon dyke. Water, heading towards the town of Chohar Jamali, is now flowing on both sides of the Munarki dyke. According to officials, the town has a 90 per cent chance of flooding. Water is also flowing into the Ghulam Shah Sim nullah and there is a 50 per cent chance of the nullah overflowing and flooding the town of Jati.

“We are making efforts to save the two towns which have a combined population of more than 100,000,” senior city official Hadi Bakhsh Kalhoro said, adding that most people had already left for safer spots. In Sujawal city, as many as 200 to 250 people were still sitting on the roofs of their houses and refused to leave, fearing what would happen to their homes and belongings if they left. Some locals said by telephone that massive looting had begun in the city. Imposters posing as refugees were removing items from homes that had been evacuated, they said.

More people returned to Thatta on Tuesday as the town was declared safe and the Faqir Jo Goth dyke was completely plugged.

MNA Ayaz Ali Shah Sheerazi, who holds the seat from the area and represents opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), has accused the DCO and the Pakistan Peoples Party-led administration of Thatta of deliberately flooding Sujawal to save Thatta. “Since I am part of the Opposition, they breached the Kot Aalmoon dyke (that flooded Sujawal) and have not plugged it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo said that the situation was under control. Addressing a press conference in the Sindh Secretariat’s building, he said that they had plugged the breach near Thatta and the city was no longer under threat. “I appeal to the people sitting in Makli to return home,” he said.

(With reporting by Junaid Khanzada in Thatta, Hafeez Tunio in Karachi and input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2010.