MUZAFFARGARH

Gushing floodwater played havoc in the historic city of Seetpur while five persons of a family were drowned when a breach occurred in the protection bund, washing away more than 400 homes and cutting off the city from Alipur Tehsil and rest of the district. The deceased were identified as Nazar Muhammad, Ghulam Mustafa, Muhammad Aslam and two others. The Punjab Chief Minister has taken serious notice of breach in protection bund while Punjab Minister for Irrigation Mian Yawar Zaman reached the spot to supervise the filling work.

Meanwhile, District Coordination Officer Farasat Iqbal Chaudhry said that a total of 106 mauzas were affected across the district and more than 50 percent of villages were still under water. He confirmed that five members of a family were swept away by flash flood in River Chenab at Kachi Lal here (Seetpur) on Thursday. Rescue officials reached the scene and started search operation for the recovery of bodies but could not find out any body till filing of this report.

Meanwhile, Floodwater submerged many villages in Nogoth, forcing large number of people to shift to safer places. Recent flood has destroyed mango orchards and cotton crop in different areas. Vegetable prices have gone sky high in Muzaffargarh district. The floods had caused billions of rupees losses to the national economy as it has almost damaged Kharif crops on 400,000 acres in 31 districts of Punjab, it has been learnt.

As per the estimates of the Punjab Agriculture Department: “The crops including rice, maize, fodder, sugarcane, cotton, moong, orchard and vegetables were 100 per cent devastated by the natural disaster at 381,527 acres in different districts of the province. Around 75 per cent and 50 per cent agriculture losses had been counted at 97,740 acres and 165,401 acres land respectively.”The destruction of crops has been calculated 25 per cent at 325,817 acres while the total affected cropped area only in Punjab is being said by the government around one million acres only in Punjab. The officials said Punjab remained the most vulnerable province in front of natural disaster. Muzaffargarh is the most hit district where the floods ruined crops at 22,000 acres, respectively. The document said the rice crops were affected at area of 14008 acres and maize was hit at 17,981 acres. The fodders were damaged at 83,420 acres and vegetables were destroyed at 10,921 acres of land. The losses to crops of Sugarcane, cotton and moong were counted at land of 100,278 acres, 17924 acres and 1,907 acres respectively. The damaged to different other crops have been counted at area of 62,964 acres in various districts of the province. “The Punjab government is calculating total losses in terms of rupees and surely the targets set by us for kharif crops might not be achieved,” said an official of the agriculture department.