The roads were flooded. Schools were sinking. The territory looked like swimming pool. Over 400-year-old fort of the Talpur dynasty was partially damaged. On the one side of Fort Cote Diji was a temporary camp for about 80 families displaced by unprecedented flooding in Khairpur district of province of Sindh. We were near the relief camp when a local journalist told us what flood-hit people protested next to body of a one-year- old woman. We went to protest and the moment two dozen people saw us with a camera they rushed to us. What we saw was simply unimaginable. Distraught parents of the little girl said us that their daughter died because she had nothing to eat and drink for in last three days.
“She was in pain all night, mother told me. Another flood the victims supported her story because they were not given government help. The tents were provided by a local charity but none were available. help from government. People also showed others children facing acute illness because of flaw access for food and clean drinking water. All of them wanted them story to be said outside world so some help power arrive.
On our way back to Sukkur, which was our base for in flood coveragewe saw rows of date palm trees underwater. floods are not just destroyed peoplex homes but their livelihood. Pakistan in fifth placeth largest manufacturer of dates in in world and 80 percent of dates are produced in Khairpur. “The flood took everything away. This year date production reduced by 80 percent. It means loss of 50 billion rupees,” said President Muhammad Bashir Arain. of Khajor Mandi in Khairpur.
next in the morning we went to Kambar Shahdatkot, one of most affected areas in Sind. At both sides of Sukkur-Jakobabad Highway, one you could see big stripes of area under water. But the worst was yet to come. When we entered Ratodero and on in way before Shahdatkot we could only see one thing is water on both sides of highway. It was like road carved out in middle of ocean. The rice fields were destroyed, the houses were flooded, dead animals on roadside and only dry place people could find for the cover was this highway.
Each family it was painful story to share. I was told that I first journalist to visit this part. Manzoor Ahmed pointed to his drowned man house How is he took shelter with his two wives and 16 children in Kubo Said Khan in Kamber Shahdatkot. Roof of his house collapsed and when they ran for safety his wife slipped and broke her leg. For 15-20 days his wife could not receive any medical assistance. Her son sold his watch for over from $2 to buy medicine as one private the doctor plastered her leg at no charge. The locals said no. government help got to them. They lived in terrible conditions as they were forced to drink contaminated water. Scale of the devastation was so great it was hard to explain in the words.
Back in Islamabad people celebrated the victory against Afghanistan in Asian Cup. The President and the Prime Minister delivered congratulations team for give happiness in times of such a disaster. Also former Disrespect for Prime Minister Imran Khan of litigation prevailed national discourse. Television channels and newspapers gave prominent coverage to the one, that story. But my mind is stuck in in flood-hit areas as pictures of the devastation continued playing in front of my eyes. more I thought of these helpless people in more I found cricket victory, Imran’s trial and powerpoint briefings on floods in well designed air conditioned rooms are pointless.
Published in Express Tribune, 12 September.th2022.
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