KHAIRPUR: The mud home of Manthar Ali collapsed on Thursday afternoon in the wake of heavy rains in the southern Pakistani district of Larkana. But Ali’s family did not realize at first the damage caused by the downpour was more than just the financial loss.
The family was shocked to find the body of Ali, a father of four young children, after they started removing the rubbles. Ali was one of the 339 people who have lost their lives in monsoon rains and floods in the southern Sindh province since mid-June, according official statistics by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
“We thought he had gone somewhere out,” Ali’s cousin, Aijaz Ali, told Arab News on Friday, pointing toward the mud-filled yard where women of the family were mourning over Ali’s body.
“We have no money to perform his last rites.”
Residents of remote villages in the province say their human and financial losses have not been documented, hinting that the death toll and other damages may be much higher than the official estimates.
On Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited flood-ravaged Sukkur district of Sindh to review the relief work and meet the affected people. The prime minister, who was accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, was informed that torrential rains had destroyed infrastructure across the province.
People in several villages of Dadu, Larkana and Khairpur districts told Arab News no aid had reached them and they were still staying out in the open during rains.
“What system is this? Our entire village is drowned but no one came to our help,” Azad Khan, a resident of Maula Bux Shar village that is some 30 kilometers away from Larkana, told Arab News.
“We have neither received food nor any tents, but forced to spend our time in the open.”
The remote villages are inaccessible and residents say people there have also died after they did not get timely treatment for various diseases.
In Naseer Faqeer Jalalani village, a child died as he couldn’t get timely treatment for gastro, while a man, who had asthma, died after climbing a sand dune to escape flooding, according to Zahid Jalalani, a local activist.
A young couple was expecting a child after five years of marriage, but the floods snatched them of this long-waited joy Friday evening.
“Wife of Muhammad Yasin Baladi was expecting a child but no gynaecologist was available in nearby towns,” Jalalani told Arab News. “She was finally taken to Khairpur, but her baby couldn’t be saved while her own condition is unstable.”
Sakina Khatoon, a woman in her 60s, said heavy rains collapsed her home in Abdullah Narejo village and deprived them of the dowry she had collected for her daughter.
“I had purchased it by saving money for years. Under these rubbles, our belongings, our dreams are buried,” Khatoon said, as she removed the debris.
Bano Shar, another woman in her 70s, said she had lost her livestock while her children were without food, pointing to a dead calf nearby where a buffalo was also stuck in the mud.
Shehzad Shah Jilani, a local activist who has teamed up with nearly 30 volunteers to take food, tents and medicines to remote villages in Khairpur, said up to 10,000 houses had been destroyed by rains in his district alone and there was hardly any dry space left for the flood affectees to move to.
“There is a severe humanitarian crisis,” Jilani said, adding the scale of ongoing floods was bigger than the one that hit the country in 2010.
“The sixth spell of rain was the most fatal one as the entire [Khairpur] district was inundated.”