BADIN: Drabbed in untidy cloths and holding an stick in her left hand Lakshmi Menghwar complains that since rain hit her village in Khoski town of Badin district she and her family is without food, clean drinking water and no sanitation facilities.
“Whatever aid is available is being distributed among those with links to the political or influentials’ clout. My husband and children are so sick that they cannot walk,” 48-years-old Lakshmi said while narrating her ordeal.
During visit to different flooded-areas in Badin recently, this scribe witnessed displaced people in different villagers and towns of the Badin district in traumatic conditions due to acute shortage of aid. Condition of pregnant women and their children was appalling as they were too weak, with many children bare-footed and without clothes.
Complaints of no or inadequate aid arrangements and extremely low-spirited efforts for pulling out the people to shift them to safer areas have increasingly poured in from rain and flood affected districts of Sindh.
Districts governments remained almost inactive and did not responded to the disaster in a timely and appropriate manner, said members of different NGOs working in affected areas of lower Sindh districts.
Asghar Laghar, programme manager of the Laar Humanitarian and Development Programme (LHDP) told this scribe that water-borne diseases are on rise among people, particularly old men and women as well as children. Because, due to absence of proper arrangements for clean potable water and hygienic food they are compelled to consume contaminated rainwater and rotten food.
Some 16 people have died from gastroenteritis in different parts of rain-affected Sindh while hundreds others with complaints of severe abdominal pain have been shifted to hospitals, according to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
The reports said that some 400 displaced people in Tando Bagho taluka of Badin district suffering from severer fever, gastro, diarrhea and skin diseases have been also admitted to taluka hospital.
LHDP’s programme manager Asghar Laghari said that his organization has intensified aid and relief efforts in different parts of Badin despite its limited financial resources.
“Aid and relief efforts can be further expanded to other flooded and rain-hit areas of the district and adjoining areas, if more funds are provided. However, still shifting people to safer areas and making initiatives to provide them with safe drinking water, food and sanitation facilities at different camps,” said Asghar Laghari.
Besides, eight water tangers of 9,000 gallon water capacity each, have been also hired to provide safe drinking water to the people in camps. These water tankers provide water twice a day, which meets the need of water for drinking, cooking food and sanitation of some 25,000 to 30,000 people, Asghar Laghari said.
“LHDP has also arranged over 100 water tanks, 1,300 liters capacity each, in different relief camps in the Badin districts,” he said.
LHDP’s Asghar Laghari told Pakistan Times his organization has also lunched initiatives to protect livestock of the district from falling victim to diseases.
“On self-help basis, we have selected two people from each village in Badin district and have trained them in livestock vaccination and disease diagnosing, so that they themselves could help their livestock and prevent them from any diseases,” he said.
He remarked that such initiative has helped check livestock mortality.
“But LHDP has provided us with potable water and plastic sheets to protect our thatched huts. They have also helping us move to safer and higher places from our village, which is now surrounded by some four feet rainwater,” said 45-years-old Nautiyaar Mallah.
Disaster management expert, Satter Zangejo, said that aid and relief efforts by NGOs like LHDP are a welcome move and helping displaced people and their livestock in many ways.
“But, there is serious need for the government to support their efforts, so that they would further expand their aid and relief work to the affected parts of Sindh that are crying howl for clean drinking water, food, clothes, tents for them and their livestock,” he remarked.
He feels agony that despite passage of over four weeks since the rains battered lower Sindh districts, but over 85 per cent areas remain without relief aid.
He warned that if government’s slow/poor response to the disaster and people’s multiplying sufferings continues, the post rain situation in the province may grow unmanageable and mortality rate among people and their livestock affected by the disaster is bound to spiral up to an alarming extent.