August 27, 2022

By Ahmed Saeed


Stranded inhabitants of kacha areas along the borders of Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur districts await government relief as floodwater begins surrounding them.

These areas are notorious safe havens for dacoits, and are considered no-go zones for police and administrative officials. Inhabitants complain that the government has seemed to have forgotten them as floods ravage thousands of acres of farmland in Southern Punjab.

“I have never seen such devastation from floods in my lifetime,” Sherdil, an elderly resident, tells as he points at the floodwater inundating the area. Any movement possible is through boats only, he adds.

Sherdil was among the few residents who swam through the floodwater to a patch of dry land hundreds of meters away from their abode in the kacha belt.

“The flood has washed away our grains, cattle and homes which is our entire livelihood,” another resident says. “We have become beggars and await Allah’s help under the open sky.”

Residents say they have been forsaken by administrative and flood rescue officials because of the notoriety of the area as a dacoit-infested region.

One of the locals says most people are stranded because there are no boats available to ferry them to safety.

“People are charging Rs 15,000 for a boat which is quite beyond the reach of inhabitants left bereft of any possessions in the flood,” he says.

Asked whether the inhabitants have contacted administrative officials and legislators for help in rescuing them, he says most of them are not picking up their phones.

“Those who do attend our calls say they cannot do anything and tell us to come out of the flooded areas on our own.”

The inhabitants say no police and district administration officials have reached out to them.
“We are helping out one another in these dire times,” another resident says.

Around a thousand people have lost their lives in recent floods and rains. The flash floods have affected 33 million people including half a million forced to live in government relief camps.


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