BAHAWALNAGAR/BUREWALA - The rising level of floodwater in River Sutlej has inundated 19 villages in the river belt of Minchinabad and three Mauzas of Bahawalnagar.

Local population along with cattle are being shifted to safer places while standing crops over hundreds of acres of land have been damaged by the floodwater.

Minchinabad Assistant Commissioner Arshad Iqbal said that Chak Bhondi, Barika Hathar and Usmanpur Ratteka are among the 19 villages where floodwater has entered and crop field affected. He, however, said people of the area are safe as rescue officials, flanked by Pakistan Army personnel carrying out rescue and evacuation operation. “Almost 90 percent people and their cattle have been shifted to safety from affected areas with the help Pakistan Army,” he pointed out.

According to Bahawalnagar AC Muhammad Yousaf, floodwater has entered three areas of Bahawalnagar including Mari Mian Sahab and Chaweka where standing crops have been damaged. He revealed that more villages would have been affected by the floodwater from Sutlej had it entered Bahawalnagar through Minchinabad. He said that Rescue and Pakistan Army personnel and other officials are on high alert with standing by boats.

Meanwhile, Bahawalnagar Deputy Commissioner Shoaib Khan Jadoon ordered closure of 42 schools along the river belt in Bahawalnagar, Minchinabad and Chishtian to avert any critical situation besides more boating stations have been set up in these areas.

District Education Authority CEO Aslam Ijaz said that studies have temporarily been suspended in these schools in the river belt area in anticipation of the flood and school record is being shifted to safer locations.

On the other hand, ADC (R) Saifullah Sajid said that the district administration is utilising all out resource to safeguard people against the flood in Minchinabad, Bahawalnagar and Chishtian tehsils. He said that people are being shifted to safe locations, while rescue services and relief camps have been stepped up to provide to relief the affected population.

He was speaking during visit to Usmanpur Ratika, Jhedwan and Mari Mian Sahab relief camps and boating station at Bhokan Pattan.

The ADC termed the efforts satisfactory and directed that names of areas be put up on flexes so that people know which relief camps covered which area. He also instructed to ensure that malaria, snakebite, rabbies and other lifesaving vaccine are available at the relief camps in ample quantity.

Saifullah Sajid directed respective officials to stay in constant contact with the ACs Arifwala, Pakpattan, Mailsi, Vehari and Burewala so that better coordination could be ensured.

He also instructed to get divisional police officers onboard for the security of boating stations at night and also gave the orders to ensure availability of electricity in relief camps besides registration of affected people at the camps.

He said that officers and staff should provide all information to the affected people at the reception counters and deal public with politely. He directed to make complete record of food hampers distributed to the flood affectees and establish a complaint cell so that feedback of the people could be gathered for improving functioning of the relief camps.

In Burewala, flood in Sutlej River inundated dozens of villages and standing crops including cotton, maize, paddy and other seasonal crops in the outskirts of Sahuka. The Administration, relief agencies and Rescue 1122 have busy providing all possible facilities to flood affected people.

According to details, floodwater affected dozens of villages and vicinities of Sahuka where standing corps - cotton, maize, paddy, sugarcane, vegetables and other seasonal crops have either been destroyed or damaged by floodwater.

Rescue 1122 has shifted more than 500 flood victims to safer places with help of police. The local administration continued to provide all possible facilities, including health facilities in flood relief camps. It is evident that floodwater is doing more damage than expected due to illegal encroachments created by influential landlords over the past several years in the river belt of River Sutlej. 

According to Flood Control Centre, water arrival and discharge at Islam Headworks was recorded at 29,215 cusec, 27,727 cusecs at Mailsi Siphon; 41,642 cusec at Sulemanki Headworks and 36,560 cusec at Head Gunda Singhwala. Though most of the flood-hit villages located on the western side of the river are part of the Bahawalnagar district, the Burewala administration is carrying out rescue operations there to facilities the affected people.