An exceptionally heavy monsoon rains that caused an unprecedented disaster in Pakistan during 2010 have returned with a vengeance to hit the southernmost part of the country.
More than five million people have been affected by the latest flooding in Pakistan and according to the meteorological forecast, further rains are expected over the next few days.
In addition to areas that were affected last year, new areas have also come under water. As 22 out of 23 districts of Sindh have been affected, recovery and rehabilitation activities being carried out by the humanitarian organizations in affected communities have taken a serious blow.
In 2010, the district of Badin was fortunate not to be affected by the floods. Hosting displaced populations from the neighboring districts, area residents considered themselves lucky to have escaped the devastation. This time around, however, Badin is one of the worst flood-affected districts. Uninterrupted rains for nearly a month, have affected nearly 68% of the estimated 1,420,000 people in the district.
Waiting for help
More than 500 people displaced from a large number of villages in the district have taken refuge in the Government Boys High School in Badin city. These people have been living in the school building converted into a relief camp for nearly a month. While these people remain dependent on the district authorities for safe drinking water and food, insufficient sanitation facilities in the school building forces many to defecate in the open.
Zubaida, a widow, living in the camp along with her five children, had to flee her village as the water level started to rise. Though determined to face the adverse situation, she complained about insufficient services at the camp. “We have been living in this camp for a month without much help from anyone,” she said. “There is dirty water all around and even inside the building. Many children are sick but there is no doctor or medicines.”
Risk of waterborne disease
East of Mirpurkhas city, there are heavily populated settlements of IDPs alongside the highway. Large areas on both sides of the road are covered with water.
Remains of a number of dead animals especially chicken and buffalos can be seen floating in the murky water. Dead animals, mosquitos and non-availability of safe drinking water pose a major threat of waterborne diseases to the village population.
In Digri, a city in Mirpurkhas district, the entire city is filled with flood water and is impassable to vehicles. According to locals almost 70 kilometers of the highway are under water and all traffic has been suspended on this route.