Pakistan: Dozens of villages in Layyah inundated

By Nadeem Saeed & Zulfiqar Ali
MULTAN/PESHAWAR, July 5: The recent swell in the mighty river Indus has played havoc in the remote Layyah district as dozens of villages have been inundated, causing displacement of thousands of people.

Reports reaching here reveal that floodwater has devastated about 30 villages in 11 riverine union councils of the district.

The badly affected areas are Lohanch Nashaib, Jakharr, Kotla Haji Shah, Baseera, Khokharwala, Kot Sultan and Juman Shah.

The situation has aggravated with a 100-foot breach occurring on Tuesday in the F1 north spur and the floodwater was reportedly hitting against the last embankment of the Layyah city.

The district authorities estimated that some 150,000 people had been evacuated to safer places while standing crop on 150,000 acres had suffered damage. The rescue work was being marred by lack of resources.

Following an SOS sent to Pakistan Army on Saturday, its jawans joined the rescue work on Monday with eight boats. The authorities have requested the army to draft in more boats in view of the magnitude of the flood and the damage it had inflicted.

An official involved in the rescue work, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that the Punjab government had provided only Rs0.6m to carry out crisis mitigation work in the calamity-hit areas. The amount makes up only Rs4 per flood victim, he added.

He said some 21 relief camps had been set up in the flood-stricken areas but a lot more resources were required to help people in distress.

He said the river Indus ran 65km through the district with a distance across (width) reaching 20km at some places.

The flood victims cannot be rehabilitated before the month of August, he said.

More than 0.5m cusecs of water had passed through Layyah on Monday. The floodwater had started playing havoc since last Friday in the district, one of the most backward in Punjab.

NWFP: The Kabul and Swat rivers, which had swamped large areas in five districts of the Frontier province, started receding on Tuesday.

The NWFP Flood Warning Centre said the river Kabul at Warsak was in medium flood with 89,050 cusecs. But it was still in high flood at Nowshera, where outflow was recorded at 142,400 cusecs at 7pm on Tuesday.

The water level in other tributaries of river Kabul was also declining and displaced families had started going back to their homes.

The provincial relief commission said in statement that the army troops had evacuated 355 people from Dera Ismail Khan and they had been provided food.

The commission said that approximately 9,000 people had been affected due to high flood, who had left their homes, while a large area along the riverbanks became inundated.

The centre's liaison officer Abdul Wali Yousafzai, however, said that although the water level in rivers was decreasing, the displaced people should not go back home.

He said the district coordination officers concerned had been directed not to allow people to return to their homes unless the situation became clear.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar Electric Supply Company has said that the floodwater posed a threat to the company's regional store in Nowshera and urged the authorities to take pre-emptive measures for the safety of the equipment.

A press release issued here said that huge equipment worth millions of rupees, placed at the store, was under threat due to floodwater. It called for immediate action to avert threat to the store.


DAWN Group of Newspapers
© The DAWN Group of Newspapers