Muzaffargarh, Pakistan: Caught between two rivers

16 August, 2010 | Conflict & Emergencies
Wading through the Pakistan floods. Photo: REUTERS/Adrees Latif, courtesy alertnet.org

Oxfam's Tariq Malik speaks to rescue workers and people affected by severe flooding in Muzaffargar, Pakistan.

District Muzaffargarh is called Doaba in the local language, meaning a piece of land that lies between two rivers. This geographic advantage for Muzaffargarh turned into a disadvantage when rivers Chenab and Indus surged on both its sides, leaving huge numbers of people from 443 small villages in sub-districts Alipur, Jatoi, and Kot Adu homeless.

The District Government so far has evacuated 90,285 people, mainly small farmers, tenants and daily wagers. There are 49 relief camps in the district. Doaba, Oxfam's partner named after the area it operates in, issued warnings in ten villages in Jatoi tehsil. [Doaba has issued over 178 early warnings to 178 villages across the Punjab area.] It also has plans in place to carry out initial assessments for the needs of people in the relief camps over the next two weeks. It provided a boat to emergency service Rescue 1122.

It was raining when a team of ten rescue workers loaded one boat owned by Doaba and a rented bus and left for Rangpur, 65 kilometers away from the district headquarters.

Ejaz Ahmed, in charge of Rescue 1122 in Muzaffargarh said, "We have received news on mobile phones that the river Chenab has inundated nearly 20 small villages there and the now the town is in danger."

When asked what a single boat would do for the thousands that are stranded, he replied, "we are doing what we can. Rescue 1122 has two boats that are engaged in rescue work in the Mehmoodabad area."

Oxfam teams couldn't visit the camps or move to the DG Khan district further south in Punjab, as the floods had reportedly damaged Ghazigoth Bridge, which is on the route. Taunsa Barrage – the other access to DG Khan – has been closed to traffic for days. The team travelled back to Layyah, which took six hours as there was heavy rain. On the way, I was thinking of the rented vehicle for the rescue workers heaving with exhaustion.

All along the route people were seen taking shelter under trees. Cows, goats and buffaloes were found tethered to trees, munching on the green patches along the road. A young boy hailing from the Chowk Munda, sipping a cup of tea at a roadside hotel, said, "this area is safe because it is surrounded by sand dunes that act as natural protection against floods." He said people from the devastated villages are flocking to this area to save their lives and livestock.

Zafar lund, director of Heerik Development Foundation, Oxfam's partner organization who has worked in the area for a decade, said that civil society has three demands to make from the government:

  1. establishment of a flood commission to investigate the causes of flood destruction;
  2. compensation payment through cheques; and
  3. damage assessment in consultation with government, NGOs and community notables.

Read more

Donate to Oxfam's Pakistan flood appeal

Take action: Email European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to get the EU to donate more to Pakistan

Oxfam's humanitarian response to Pakistan floods

Comments

Chowk Munda

The boy mentioned in this article is right- the sand dunes that he's taken shelter on are relatively safer than other land, but these dunes themselves are the result of destertification. And I've never seen the desert itself, becoming flooded within minutes. The rate of rainfall you'll see in this monsoon system is simply unreal, which is why I'm commenting here. People keep reading blog posts, news and all sorts of reports and then go back to their routines because the rate of flooding simply unbelievable. I'm pleading to everyone who isn't in these flood zones, to please, please get involved. Oxfam's a trustworthy partner, so please help support them with getting clean water to the growing number of displaced persons.

Pakistan thanks you for your time and motivation.

need to get involved

can anyone guide me as to how to become an active member of OXFAM or how to get involved. Many young people wish to get actively involved in collecting donations and also in helping the flood effected people. Kindly reply soonest !

khalid khawaja

Oh God

Oh God! Save us from any kind of your anger.

help Flood Victims

Mr. 

sir, I belong to a Ill Fated town SEET PUR Tehsil Ali Pur District Muzaffar Garh, which is situated at 20 KM South West from Tehsil Headquarter Ali Pur and 110 KM from District Headquarter Muzaffar Garh. Sir near about 10 KM  South West away from Seet Pur the booth river Indus and Chenab met. So we are suffering the flood of booth rivers about 15 Lac Cusec  12Lac from Indus and 3 Lac from Chenab. More than 15 days gone but the flood water is still here .

From Seet Pur to Tranda M. Panaha ( Rahim Yar Khan  Distt.) in East which is 40 Km Area , Seet Pur to Chachran Sharif  (Rahim Yar Khan  Distt.) in West which is 60 KM area and Seet Pur to Rajan Pur in West  which is 70 Km area  there is flood water. And in North the Seet Pur Ali Pur Road is also sink in flood water.

Sir thousand of flood victims of this area are shelter at Seet Pur. But there is insufficient 

Arrangements by government .

Unlucky the Seet Pur is also Evanesce from NGO’s eyes.  Sir there is no Army rescue team, no 1122 team no any government or non government rescue team . all evacuated process was done by “Apni Madad Aap”.  sir there are 35 mauzuat ( Villages ) which are affected by flood in this area. In which 40 to 50 thousand people are displaced . 

Sir thousand victims are shelter at Seet Pur. There is no proper relief camp by government. If there is relief camp by government then there is no food , no water even the officers ( Patwari etc) which appointed at camps are also eaten food of victims which is provided by local person or local welfare organizations .

Local peoples and local organizations like HELP Organizations do Sir the only relief work. HELP Organization arrange the accommodation of 200 Families at Pakistan Public School Seet Pur  this organization also provide Meal to all these peoples with the help of local peoples.

Sir Tehsil Ali Pur is situated at eastern bank of Indus river unlucky the western bank which is Rajan Pur is highlighted in  Media and there is good  relief work  done but Ali Pur is totally ignored by media and government and as well as NGO’s .

 Sir Chief Minister  stay in Rahim Yar Kahn and Rajan Pur last fifteen days but not visit to Ali Pur which is totally 10 to 15 minute  traveling distance  by Helicopter. As say in Urdu  “ Aankh Ojhal Pahar Ojhal “  so chief minister 15 days relief work is not for us.

So we request to chief Minister through your intermediation that Chief Minister visit Tehsil Ali Pur particularly the areas of Seet Pur and also supervise the relief work here.

Unfortunately Seet Pur is too far from Main Highway that is why no government official and no NGO reached here. Mostly NGO work in Muzaffar Garh and Kot Addu . No food , relief goods reached at Seet Pur. Similarly there is no coverage of Seet Pur in Media which highlight the affliction of flood victims of Seet Pur.

So we request you that you appeal to NGO to help these victims and send Food , Water , Tents for the victims of Seet Pur.

Sir if you send your team in District Muzaffar Garh area so kindly also remember  Seet Pur. We welcome you to Seet Pur.

 

Thanks I get your precious time for this I again thanks

 

Regards,

 

Rana Muhammad Farooq Ahmed   

General Secretary 

HELP Organization (Reg)  Seet Pur ( Muzaffar Garh )

0345 4373483 , 0342 9444404

 

FLOOD

 I am athar umrani baloch

hear do not reached help

 

Thanks for your post.

Thanks for your post. Pakistan is in my thoughts. I am doing some research on Pakistan and wonder if you could give me a rough estimate of the population of the city of Addu Kot and how many people have been displaced there. Thank you.