Having inundated eight districts of Sindh causing unimaginable loss of lives and property, floodwaters entered Johi full force this week. The common citizens of Johi got together with government officials to expedite work on the already built Ring Bandh. After a few days, though, the government faltered a bit for reasons unknown. May be it had stretched its resources in men and machinery to the limit. In these challenging moments, some brave residents of the village Bux Ali Rind came forward and started the work of strengthening Ring Bandh, ignoring even warnings by the government. Slowly and gradually, people from the neighbouring towns joined the effort and the number of volunteers swelled. This show of unity and determined resolution in face of calamity compelled even the government to rethink its abandoned action. So government officials reluctantly returned to Johi and provided machinery to the citizens. Meanwhile people brought sacks, quilts, blankets and spades from their homes for use in strengthening the Bandh. Despite closure of their businesses and financial stress caused by floods, people brought cooked food and served tea and refreshments from their own pocket to the volunteers who worked without rest. The fight between the virulent floodwaters and determined citizens of Johi continued until yesterday, when as a result of artificial cuts and overflow of Manchhar Lake, the water started receding slowly. The caste system in Sindh is often abused in Sindh for its negative impact on the society but, in this case, even that worked for people for once. People from Rind, Lund, Jiskani and other castes took responsibility of protecting their respective segments of the Bandh. When government faced difficulty in mobilizing machinery, Minister of State Rafique Ahmed Jamali appealed to his Jamali community which provided their tractors and other necessary implements generously. I observed one Gafoor Jamali, a small local farmer, pleading on phone for hours to his relatives to bring their tractor-trolleys to the site at Ring Bandh. He alone was able to bring five tractor-trolleys. Bandhs elsewhere in Sindh were all washed away with floodwaters, often in a matter of hours, none lasting more than a few days. But the courage and determination of the people of Johi won. Tireless work of a 1000 or so men and women have saved their town of 30000-plus. -GULSHER PANHWER, Johi, September 18.