Rains and floods in Sindh: Profitable crops destroyed in southern districts, victims deprived of drinking water and shelter

By | June 20, 2021

“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 100 to 150 rupees, 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 victims 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 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. Rainwater is being drained into the canal system with the help of tractors and dugout pumps, but the drainage process is proving difficult as 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 data, pepper is grown on 38,000 hectares in Umerkot and surrounding districts. It is planted in January and harvested in August, but this time the farmers as well as the farmers have fallen victim to the economic crisis.
Dehno Kumar, a farmer, said that the loss of the farmer was high

This is because the cost of plowing and tractor is more on the farmer, the landlord has to pay two or three sacks of fertilizer and the rest has to be paid to the farmer.
“The pepper and cotton crop is over. Whatever was available for corn or other crops was spent, it is gone.
Wheat crisis likely
After the cotton and chilli crop is picked in September, the next crop is prepared. Farmers say it could take at least one and a half to two months to drain and improve the land.
The family of provincial minister Sardar Ali Shah is also involved in agriculture. He said that 80-90% of the area under cultivation in Mirpur Khas division has been destroyed and it is cotton and chilli crops.
“The biggest challenge now is Kharif. If Kharif does not happen, a great human tragedy could ensue because poor farmers will be in big trouble.
“Drainage is a big problem,” he said. The crop that was supposed to be harvested is gone, but if the water is not drained, the next crop will not be harvested on time. The government is trying to drain this water.

Record rise in pepper prices
Within a four-walled field, the red pepper is taken out of the sack and placed on the ground, and the bidding process begins. The traders around them state their price and a bargain is struck at a reasonable price. These are the sights of the Kanri Pepper Market, where 32,000 man peppers were sold last Saturday.
Thousands of sacks of chillies start arriving in the Kanri Chili Market daily from August, but these days only a few hundred sacks are arriving due to the recent rains which have severely affected the chilli crop.
Kanri Chili Mandi is the largest chilli market in Pakistan where 80% of the country’s production is traded. The leader of this market, SM Saleem, says that the market receives 7.8 lakh sacks of chillies annually.
“Seventy percent of the pepper is gone. Nothing is visible in Jhudo, No Kot, Khapro. Most of the country’s production is consumed in local consumption and it is imported to Saudi Arabia, Arab states, the United States and European countries,” he said. ‘
SM Saleem says that when the price has gone up in the market, the prices in the general market will also go up, so it may be necessary to export chillies to meet the local demand.
Unavailability of NGOs too
All this time, Pakistan’s national media has been flooded with the flood situation in Karachi, while the situation in other affected districts of Sindh has not been clearly covered, while the role of local and international NGOs seems to be very limited.
Ali Akbar Rahmon, director of the NGO Auer, says that since the number of donor organizations has decreased, the role of NGOs has become very limited, so their activities are comparable to those of 2010 and 2011. Are not coming
According to Provincial Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, in normal days, “the benefactors of Karachi are also in the forefront in helping, but the recent rains have also affected Karachi, so there is a difference between the 2011 floods and the current situation.”
However, he says that we need the help of international charities at this time and he hopes that they will be helped.

Debt relief or waiver demand
Twenty districts were declared disaster-hit by the Sindh government, after which the collection of taxes and levies from these districts is usually delayed or waived. In this regard, people have also demanded tax rebates as well as loan concessions.
Provincial Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah has said that the waiver or concession of loans taken by farmers from banks is in the hands of the federal government.
“Electricity is needed to run motors for drainage, but there is no electricity for hours in the affected areas.”
It should be noted that no announcement or relief action was taken by the federal government or its agency NDMA.
However, clean drinking water is being provided in tankers by Lal Malhi, an elected member of the National Assembly from the reserved seats of the PTI in the victims’ camp in Umerkot.

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