Most of southern Sindh still under water: study


Most parts of southern Sindh that inundated due to monsoon flood in August are still under water, revealed a joint study of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission conducted through satellite images.
The study revealed that in the monsoon flood this year, 14,091 square kilometres of land was submerged by rainwater and due to breaches in drains and canals.
The data of the flooded districts disclosed that Badin is the worst-affected district, with more than half of its total geographical area underwater.
Badin has a total geographical area of 6,726 square kilometres, of which, according to the study, 3,751 square kilometres is inundated.
The study regarded Sanghar district and Mirpurkhas district as second and third worst-affected districts, respectively.
It said 2,554 square kilometres of Sanghar and 1,694 square kilometres of Mirpurkhas submerged during the monsoon flood this year.
The study said out of the 14,091 square kilometres inundated in August, 4,062 square kilometres is still underwater; out of these submerged areas, some are 29-45 percent underwater.
The study indicated that out of Badin district’s 3,751 square kilometres submerged in August, 1,208 square kilometres are still inundated; the situation is similar in other flooded districts of lower Sindh.
According to different official studies, these areas already top the list of “the most vulnerable districts” in terms of poverty, education, income generation and health; out of these districts, Sanghar and Badin are the topmost.
In these districts, the level of groundwater is already higher than what is normal; therefore, it is likely that floodwater would take more time to drain, as was already estimated by the government authorities.
President Asif Ali Zardari has conducted several meetings and directed the Sindh government to take immediate measures for withdrawing floodwater from the affected areas, but it seems that the provincial authorities are least bothered to heed the president’s directives.
The provincial government had recently tasked the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA), an autonomous organisation, to drain standing water from the affected areas.
When contacted, SIDA Managing Director Muhammad Ahsan Leghari declined to comment on the subject. However, rejecting the report, a SIDA spokesperson claimed that only 10 percent of the region is still inundated.
“Floodwater is standing only in those areas that lack proper drainage system, and these areas don’t constitute more than 10 percent of the total flooded areas,” added the spokesperson.