At least 12 dams in Balochistan were breached as a result of flash floods caused by heavy rains, while the Balochistan government on Friday rejected the allegations that sub-standard construction and corruption were the reasons for the breaches.
The heavy monsoon downpour has pummelled much of the region, but Balochistan was uncharacteristically affected during the monsoon season.
According to the Balochistan chief secretary, the heavy rains have killed 124 people and damaged 10,000 houses since June 1. He said that the rains have also damaged over 565 km of roads and almost 200,000 acres of agricultural land. 17,500 people were affected by the heavy rains and flash floods, he said.
In response to the allegations of corruption and poorly constructed dams and roads, the provincial ministers Syed Ehsan Shah, Mir Naseebullah Khan and Advisor to Chief Minister on Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Ziaullah Langove, Minister for Irrigation Muhammad Khan Lehri addressed a press conference. Muhammed Khan Lehri said that the 12 dams, which gave way in different areas of Balochistan, were not constructed poorly.
M.K Lehri added that an inspection team had been tasked with ascertaining the reasons behind the dams’ breaking, as well as to assess damage to other dams. He added that 16 bridges were also washed away, cutting off road communications between Balochistan and other provinces. “We are making all out efforts to restore traffic on all highways and link roads as soon as possible,” he said.
Addressing the press conference, Balochistan Health Minister Syed Ehsan Shah said the health department was providing all possible facilities to flood victims. Education Minister Nasebullah Khan and Advisor to CM Mir Ziaullah Langove said the government was providing all out help to the affected people.
While on the other hand, social and rights activists, including nationalists say that government has neglected the people of Balochistan in such difficult times. They claim that the rain and flood victims have not received any facilities from the government.
The Karachi chapter of the Baloch Yakjehti Committee, an organization campaigning for social reforms in Balochistan, has spearheaded the volunteer program to aid the people who were worst affected by the heavy rains. Amna Baloch, the organizer of the BYC Karachi, appealed to the general public to fund and participate in the volunteer project. She said that the rains and flashfloods – compounded by the belated and botched government response – have turned life upside down for the people of Balochistan.
Former Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan has said that the flood victims in Lasbela are waiting for relief while the government is failing to provide relief.
Jam Kamal while talking to the media said that the monsoon rains and floods have severely affected many areas of Lasbela and the losses have also been high. The provincial government is failing to provide relief to the flood victims and distressed people, he added.
He said that in many flood-affected areas, people are trying to recover under their own help. Non-governmental voluntary organizations are carrying out relief activities and trying to restore and provide possible assistance to the victims, Kamal added.
The recent rains have exposed the reality of Balochistan’s mediocre infrastructure, especially the highways and bridges, which were washed away in flash floods. Balochistan’s roads have developed a reputation for being notoriously dangerous. The highways witness thousands of accidents every year, killing hundreds and leaving numerous others with lifelong crippling injuries.