Multan - The flood jinx continued to haunt the residents of Multan, Muzaffargarh and adjoining towns as the swollen River Chenab did not show any sign of decline till Saturday night.
Irrigation sources said over 600,000 cusecs water passed through Multan and three more breaches were made in the Sher Shah dyke to give passage to the raging water. Resultantly, dozens of more villages and standing crops over hundreds of acres of land came under the floodwater. Irrigation officials hoped the water level would start receding in Multan by Sunday.
The road link of Multan with Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Kot Addu and all other adjoining areas remained disconnected for the second consecutive day because of breaches in Head Muhammadwala link road and the Sher Shah embankment.
One Navid Rabbani reportedly drowned in the floodwater near Basti Langrial and search for his body was underway till late Saturday night. Earlier, a resident of Muzaffargarh, identified as Muhammad Fazil, drowned in the water.
Though water discharge from Head Trimmu declined to about 200,000 cusecs from Friday’s 463,000 cusecs, the water level at Multan remained over 600,000 cusecs for the second consecutive day. The Irrigation sources confirmed the water level at Head Punjnad kept rising and reached 300,000 cusecs from Friday night’s 200,000 cusecs. They said that besides Multan and Muzaffargarh, many other towns like Shujabad, Jalalpur Pirwala, Alipur and Jatoi were under the threat of a heavy flooding as an exceptionally high flood would hit Head Punjnad in next 24 to 48 hours.
Over 350 villages and standing crops over more than 400,000 acres of land have so far come under the floodwater in Multan, Khanewal and Muzaffargarh districts. Keeping in view the intensity of the flood, the district administration had made two breaches in Head Muhammadwala link road and five more in the Sher Shah bank. Although the decision saved Multan and Muzaffargarh cities, its price is being paid by the villages and their residents.
According to details, dozens of villages, including Graywala, Basti Jalalabad, Sher Shah, Sehra-e-Madina, Gagra Kachore, Khokhran, Sultanpur Hammar, Khanpur Qazian, Mauza Jayi, Todarpur, Ponta, Mauza Soman, Jalalpur Khakhi, Mauza Bagreen and many other villages in the suburbs of Shujabad have come under water because of breaches in the Sher Shah embankment.As the flood continues its downstream march, many villages near Jalalpur Pirwala, including Shaheeni Miani, Basti Baseera, Basti Ghulam Hussain and Basti Dadda, have been inundated. A number of villages in the outskirts of Multan, including Muhammadpur Ghota, Mauza Hamrot, Qasim Bela, Basti Ponta, Tahirpur, Shahpur Lamma and Sher Shah, are already flooded.
Keeping in view the large-scale devastation caused by the flash floods in the province, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced payment of compensation to the affectees in the shortest possible time as the provincial government had already released Rs 100 million to each district affected by the recent rains and floods in the first phase.
Similarly, the Punjab Cabinet Committee constituted for flood relief has also announced the provincial government will provide Rs 20,000 to each affected family before Eidul Azha.
Meanwhile, five military choppers and dozens of motorboats continued rescue operation and shifted over 3,000 stranded people to safe places. The ISPR said over 1,500 kilograms ration was supplied to the people stuck in the flooded areas. Multan Corps Commander Lt-Gen Abid Parvez supervised the flood-relief operation.
Similarly, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation further expanded its flood-relief operation and set up five relief camps for the affectees. A spokesman for Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation said 1,400 volunteers of the foundation participated in the operation and its five motorboats rescued hundreds of stranded citizens from Sher Shah, Graywala, Mauza Beliwala, Muhammadpur Ghota and other areas. Similarly, cooked edibles were distributed among 9,800 flood victims.
In the flood-hit areas, some people waded through a knee-deep water to escape with many carrying children and household belongings on their backs while others led livestock.
Two dykes in the river were blown up on Friday to save the historic southern Pakistani city of Multan, home to two million people and nerve centre of the country’s textile industry, from the muddy, swirling floodwaters that have caused widespread crop damage.
“There is no milk for children and they are crying day and night. The authorities supply us with rice, but children need bread and milk,” one Fizza Mai, 45, at a relief camp, told said.
Some 280 people have died due to the heavy rains and flooding in the Punjab, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan regions, Ahmed Kamal, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said. He added over 214,000 people had been evacuated.
The country has suffered a series of annual flood disasters. Over 2.29 million people have so far been affected by the current floods.