Rains and floods in Sindh: Profitable crops destroyed in southern districts, victims deprived of drinking water and shelter
“I have no support, except for an eight-year-old son. No one is helping us, there is no hope for wages.
Ms. Asi is one of more than 150 farming families in temporary roadside shelters in Liaquat Road, Samaru Tehsil, Umerkot District, Sindh Province.
Twenty districts of Sindh, including Umerkot, have been severely affected by the recent rains and the government has declared them a disaster.
Rainwater is still available in many areas of Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Umerkot and Badin districts of southern Sindh. According to the report of the Provincial Disaster Management Department, 1.89 million people have been affected in these districts so far.
People waiting for help by the roadside
Ms. Asi said she picks cotton and pepper crops in the fields, earning her a daily income of Rs. 100 to Rs. 150, but now that the crops have been flooded, she no longer has a source of livelihood.
Thousands of people are forced to live under the open sky on the streets of Umerkot, Mirpur Khas and Sanghar, which have not yet been provided tents by government agencies. Provincial Minister for Culture and Antiquities Sardar Ali Shah says 80 per cent of the mud houses in the area have collapsed or weakened.
“There was no source of labor after the crops were flooded.”
Sardar Ali Shah said, “If we talk about Umerkot district alone, out of a population of 1.1 million, about 600,000 people have become homeless.”
“The majority of people are sitting on the streets near their homes, which we are trying to provide with mosquito nets and tents.”
Lack of tents
Monsoon rains have been continuing in southern Sindh for the past 20 days. People along the roadsides have made temporary canopies with beds or with the help of wood on which plastic sheets have been placed.
Another series of rains last Friday exacerbated the plight of these people, with many of the mosquitoes bothering people and their animals due to the lack of drainage from the surrounding lands.
Only 40,000 tents have been provided by the provincial PDMA department. Out of 1.9 million victims, only about 22,000 people from southern Sindh districts are in government camps, most of whom are also without tents.
Provincial Minister Sardar Ali Shah said that Karachi was affected by the rains which is also affecting the supply of tents. Orders have been issued for the purchase of tents and the supply which is to be made in a week on normal days will be in 15 days. It is happening. ‘
People here are running out of patience and they are going through a strange ordeal due to mosquitoes.
Fear of spreading diseases
After the flooding of crops and houses, the last asset of these farmers is now their animals, but they too are in danger due to this extraordinary situation. Many families are migrating to Thar to save them.
The affected people are present in the desert area of Nawkot and Umerkot adjacent to Mirpur Khas district.
Fertilizers and pesticides from crops are being mixed with rainwater into the canal water, contaminating the water, while the groundwater is also brackish, making drinking water available to the victims.
Some people trapped in the water outside Samaru said they were forced to buy drinking water for money.
Provincial Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah also admits that the problem of drinking water is very serious because the rainwater in the canals has been mixed and due to which it is polluted.
“If people drink, children will get diseases while the ground water is salty.”
After the rains, livestock are getting weakened by mosquitoes and diseases.
Dr Shiva Ram, a senior medical officer in Samaru, said there was a risk of spreading other diseases, including malaria and diarrhea, and that people would need to be protected from mosquitoes and provided with safe drinking water.
Cash crops affected
Whether it is Nokot road from Mirpur Khas or Mirpur Khas Umerkot and Khapro road, flood water is visible from far and wide.
There are only a few areas where some crops have survived. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority said that 500,000 acres of crops in Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Umerkot and Badin districts have been affected. Cotton and chilli crops, also known as ‘cash crops’, are grown in these districts.
Some farmers are still struggling to save their crops. Tractors and dugout pumps are being used to drain rainwater into the canal system, but the drainage process is proving difficult because there is two to three feet of water in the fields.
Khalid Qaim Khani, a Samaru farmer, told the BBC that pepper was a weak crop and could not stand the water. “Even during the rains, if someone’s crop has been drained, the crop is gone.”
“We have spent Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per acre. The income is related to the market rate. Sometimes it is Rs 200,000 or sometimes Rs 600,000 per acre, but this time the loss is the loss.”
According to Sindh government figures, pepper is grown on 38,000 hectares in Umerkot and surrounding districts. It is sown in January and harvested in August, but this time farmers as well as farmers have been hit by the economic crisis.
Dehno Kumar, a farmer, says that the loss of the farmer is more