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Disaster Management Authority: 5 Million Affected by Flood in Pak; Suggests Upgrading of Drainage System

BeyondHeadlines Foreign Correspondent

Islamabad: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan declared that major cities of the country will be inundated unless a drainage system is built to replace the existing one. A survey conducted by the NDMA revealed that the drainage systems of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar among other cities fail to properly draw off water.

NDMA Chairman Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir said that 209 people have lost their lives and approximately 5 million have been affected. Crops over millions of acres have been completely destroyed in this year’s flash floods.

Flooding has killed about 200 people, destroyed or damaged nearly 1 million houses and flooded 4.2 million acres of land since late August, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). A total number 321 villages in Naushero Feroze, Nawabshah and Sanghar are inundated, leaving millions homeless. Nawabshah has suffered huge losses because of flash floods. More than 60 villages have been affected in in the area. In Shahdadpur, at least, 2,000 villages have been flooded displacing over 0.2 million people.

Pakistan may also have lost up to 2 million cotton bales or about 13% of its estimated crop as a result of heavy monsoon rains during harvesting season in major producing regions like Sindh, the government and industry officials said. The farmers of Sindh, who have suffered a colossal loss estimated to be over 1.6 million acres, have given the government a deadline of October 10 to repair the shattered irrigation system for their rabi (winter) sowing. The growers fear that after their kharif (summer) crops were destroyed in the rain, they will also be unable to cultivate their rabi crops, which would lead to a great food deficit.

“The government should help the affected farmers to cultivate 4 million acres of wheat crop, 1 million acre of sunflower and different varieties of pulses on 300,000 acres of land,” they demanded in a meeting of the Sindh Abadgar Board. They came forward with detailed recommendations to rebuild the irrigation system and a list of demands.

Last year, the cotton output fell to 11.70 million bales as against a target of 14 million bales because of the devastating 2010 floods. The losses in the cotton crop were among the reasons behind 2.4% decline in Pakistan’s economic growth that year from the original target of 4.5%.

Pakistan’s cash-strapped government, which is still struggling to help victims of last year’s epic floods, could face another major test as monsoon rains sweep across Sindh Province and another flood is in the making.

The Sindh Government is about to release a compensation amount of around Rs 30 billion in the form of Watan Cards. The registration for the cards has already begun, said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

China was the first country to announce assistance for flood affected people in the country. The Chinese Government to dispatch relief goods worth 30 million RMB ($4.7million) for the flood victims. Iran will donate $100 million for the rehabilitation of the rain affected people of Sindh.

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