Pakistan

Locals start returning to their homes as Sutlej water recedes

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KASUR: The district administration has announced that water in the River Sutlej had been receding for the last few days mitigating the chances of flood in dozens of villages and hamlets along the river as the discharge of water has reduced to 25,000 cusecs at Talwar post near Ganda Singh.

Deputy Commissioner Athar Hayat, according to a handout issued on Monday, also announced that relief camps would be removed immediately from various parts of the district, except those set up at Talwar and Sehjra posts.

It further said livestock and health departments would continue to provide their services through their camps at the villages.

The DC ordered the district officers to conduct a survey of the affected villages and submit reports about the crop losses suffered by the farmers because of the flood.

19 Bahawalnagar villages hit by flood

The handout said that the water was receding and the situation would be normal within a few days.

The DC also ordered the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) officials to restore the power in the flood-affected villages as soon as possible. As the floodwater has started receding, a large number of displaced locals have started returning to their homes along with their livestock.

Dozens of villages were still without electric supply and cellular services that were suspended because of floodwater.

The residents of villages including Sehjra, Gatti Kalanger, Masteki, Olakay, Chanda Singh, Bhikuwind, Kamalpura, Basti Bangla Desh, Kanganpur, Gohar Jagir, and Athar Singh have demanded immediate restoration of power and cellular service.

On Thursday, water level had risen to about 60,000 cusecs at Talwar post when India had released around 125,000 cusecs. Later, the water level either remained constant or went lower.

It is pertinent to point out that the low-level flood in Sutlej starts at 70,000 cusecs, medium at 150,000 cusecs, high at 300,000 cusecs, very high at 425,000 cusecs and exceptionally high flood at over 425,000.

The Sutlej was in exceptionally high flood in 1988 when the water flow was 525,000 cusecsand medium flood in 1995 when the water level was 180,000 cusecs. The river was in low flood in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when the water flow was 74,000, 77,000 cusecs and 83,000 cusecs. The river had not experienced any flood for the last five years.

According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), kasur was already in the B category with regard to districts vulnerable to the flood.

BAHAWALNAGAR: The River Sutlej floodwater entered 19 villages in the riverine area of Minchinabad and three Mozas of Bahawalnagar, from where locals along with their livestock are being shifted to safer places while standing crops in these areas have been submerged.

According to Minchinabad Assistant Commissioner (AC), Arshad Iqbal Chak Bhondi, Barika Hathar and Usmanpur Ratteka were among the 19 villages where floodwater entered and affected standing crops. However, he claimed the people of the area were safe.

He said that Rescue officials along with Pakistan Army personnel were present at all critical spots to carry out rescue work. Almost 90 percent of the locals and cattle had been shifted to safety from the flood-affected areas with the help of army, he added.

Similarly, Bahawalnagar AC Muhammad Yousaf said the floodwater had entered three areas of the district, including Mari Mian Sahab and Chaweka where cropss were damaged. He said personnel of Rescue 1122, Pakistan Army and other departments officials were present at boating stations for rescue work, whereas people were being shifted to safer locations.

Bahawalnagar Deputy Commissioner Shoaib Khan Jadoon ordered temporary closure of 42 schools along the river belt in Bahawalnagar, Minchinabad and Chishtian because of flood threat. He said more boating stations had been set up in these areas.

Revenue Additional Deputy Commissioner Saifullah Sajid on Monday visited Usmanpur Ratika, Jhedwan and Mari Mian Sahab relief camps and boating station at Bhokan Pattan to inspect rescue and relief arrangements for the flood-hit people.

He ordered the officials to ensure availability of vaccines against malaria, snake bite, rabbis and other lifesaving drugs in ample quantity in the flood-hit areas.

He sought a close coordination between district administration and police so that better rescue and relief arrangements could be ensured, besides security of boating stations at night. He also ordered provision of electricity in relief camps, besides registration of flood-hit people.

He also directed establishment of a complaint cell so that feedback of the people could be gathered and relief work could be improved.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2019

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