KARACHI – Twenty-four more boats have been engaged in the ongoing rescue operation in rain-stricken areas of Sindh and Balochistan by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.

Of the 24 boats, given to the PFF by the Oxam Novib, an international humanitarian organisation, four are operating in Jaffarabad and Naseerabad areas of Balochistan, and the rest in Jacobabad and Kashmore districts of Sindh, a PFF spokesman said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the PFF had provided two boats on the request of the Kashmore district government. “Areas of Sindh bordering the Punjab and Balochistan provinces are inaccessible because of hill torrents. There is no safe way for affected people to move from their native areas.”  “The provincial government should have launched appeal earlier so that we could have brought boats timely,” he said.

Despite this delay in responding to the flood emergency by the government, he said, the PFF had been responding positively on humanitarian grounds. “The areas affected in Sindh are receiving water from southern Punjab, which is flowing to low-lying areas, inundating adjoining districts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces.” More than 90pc of the total population --1.05 million-- is facing the deplorable situation in Jacobabad district. Almost the similar number of people are said to be affected by hill torrents. The two districts are the worst affected.

Community people, who experienced previous floods, say Rain-2012 is the worst than the River Indus Flood-2010. Hundreds of families have shifted to roadsides, safe embankments and railway tracks with their livestock. The main problems they are facing include shortage of food and unavailability of safe water.  The level of flood water can be gauged from the fact that the authorities have given artificial cuts to drains to divert the flow in to Hamal Lake.  The authorities are looking for humanitarian organizations to develop tent cities in safe areas to accommodate affected people there and ensure provision of food and non-food items.

Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Law and Prisons Muhammad Ayaz Soomro has said that survey and rehabilitation process in rain-affected areas was underway.

He said this while talking with various delegations at his office, after visiting the rain affected areas. Ayaz Soomro informed that on the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari and MNA Faryal Talpur, a special team of provincial ministers, under the leadership of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah visited the rain-hit areas where relief activates were monitored. Ayaz Soomro while quoting allegation levelled by so-called sympathisers of people, advised them to come forward and help rain affectees. Soomro further said that PPP being a real democratic and patriotic party was working for the welfare of people of Sindh without any discrimination and its roots were among people and we are not required to get any certificate from the so-called political pundits and muftis in this regard.

He further told that three union councils of his constituency Ratodero i.e. Jumo Agham, Warisw Dino Machi and Tayeb were being declared as calamity-hit areas.