Civil society organisations decide to take matters into their own hands


Civil society organisations expressed concerns on Saturday over the poor response by the state organisations, especially the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and its district bodies, following the rain and flood disaster in the province.
At a consultation meeting held to review agriculture and infrastructure losses and displacement of people after the rains, the civil society organisations decided to form the Sindh People’s Commission on Disaster Prevention and Management (SPCDP) to mobilise organisations working in the affected areas.
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Executive Director Karamat Ali, Mohammed Ali Shah of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Suleman Abro of Sindh Agriculture and Forestry Workers Coordination Organisation, Jabbar Bhattin of the Indus Institute of Research and Education, Ashfaq Soomro of Research and Development Foundation, Javed Soz of the Sindh Community Foundation, Zahida Detho of the Sindh Rural Partners Organisation, Ambar of the Sindh Rural Support Programme, Zulfiqar Shah and Hussain Jarwar were present at the meeting.
The participants agreed to work together and strengthen coordination within the organisations while responding to the losses caused rain and breaches in drains in the affected areas.
The loss is beyond expectations and hundreds of people are living without any help at roadsides, railway tracks and banks of safe canals and mounds in these areas.
More than 30,000 people of Badin district have reportedly migrated to the Thar desert.
The participants said that they want to avoid duplication while initiating relief work in the affected areas.
They observed that the people will go back to their native areas after the rainwater recedes, but the situation in villages, which are inaccessible due to floods, will take a longer time to normalise.
They underlined the need for the government, especially the NDFMA and PDMA, to approach UN aid agencies including the UN-OCHA to assist in relief work without further delay and allow NGOs to help the affected people.
They said that Badin and Mirpurkhas are the worst affected districts in terms of crop and infrastructure losses.
The participants of the meeting pointed out that the disaster in these areas is “manmade and not natural”.
The Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) and other saline water drains, built to drain out wastewater, developed breaches in different places, inundating many areas and compelling people to shift their families to safer places.
The design of the World Bank-funded LBOD and other drains was faulty and whenever these areas received heavy rains during monsoon seasons, they developed breaches and inundated adjacent areas
The participants of the meeting observed that the early warning system is lacking in disaster-prone areas and the people have faced these kinds of losses in the past as well. They said that communities living in Badin and Thatta’s coastal areas have already experienced disasters like cyclones and floods.