High sea tides devastation: CM orders authorities to expedite relief operation

KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah has directed the authorities of Provincial Disaster Management Authority’s (PDMA) Relief & Rehabilitation Department and district administration of Thatta, Sujawal and Karachi to expedite the relief and rehabilitation activities for Arabian Sea high tide affected people and provide them food, water, tents and medical facilities.

He also directed the Deputy Commissioners of all the districts to remain vigilant and strengthen and equip the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) for which provincial government has earmarked Rs.20 million for each district of the province. This he directed while presiding over a high level meeting to review the progress on relief and rehabilitation activities in sea high tide affected areas of district Thatta and Karachi.

Provincial Minister for Revenue, Relief & Rehabilitation Makhdoom Jameel Zaman, MPA Syed Owais Muzaffar, Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotiyana, Senior Member Board of Revenue Malik Israr, Secretary to CM Alamdin Bullo, Secretary Irrigation Babar Effendi, Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Siddiqi, Commissioner Hyderabad Jamal Mustafa Syed, DG PDMA Salman Shah, DCs of Thatta and Sujawal attended the meeting.

Chief Minister Sindh directed the secretary finance for immediate release of Rs 20 million to Thatta district administration so that relief activities continue without any break and affected people could be provided timely assistance.

He said that he paid a visit to affected areas of district Thatta along with MPA Syed Owais Muzaffar and personally monitored the situation on ground. He added that disasters in coastal areas are natural phenomena but due to the shortage of water downstream Kotri Indus delta has been damaged. Mangroves forest which are natural barrier to reduce the damage of the cyclones, high tides and intrusion of sea into the land are eliminated.

Chief Minister Sindh said that we have approached the federal government time and again to release the water downstream Kotri not only to provide the water to the people of downstream but also to save the ecological system through planting mangroves plants and added that we would again raise this issue at all forums.

Chief Minister Sindh appreciated the timely efforts and measures of lining departments to provide immediate relief to the people residing near the coastal areas during high sea tides in Thatta. He said that rescue workers, doctors, medicines and mobile teams were visible. He said that Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant was functional at Katti Bandar, adding that Sindh government had planned to install more solar power based RO plants in the district so that people could be provided safe drinking water.

Shah said that besides meeting the emergent situation on short-term basis, long-term planning was also necessary for which government of Sindh was pondering over many proposals to cope with the high sea tides and cyclones in better manner in future. He said that a high rise coastal highway leading from coastal areas of Thatta to Indian border is also necessary to reduce the damage of the high sea tides in the adjacent coastal areas.

CM Sindh also said that we would materialized the dream of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for the revival of Ketti Bandar Project, which she announced in her second government tenure besides we are planning to establish a separate department to deal with the affairs of coastal areas.

Chief Minister Sindh further directed the district administration and irrigation department concerned for strengthening the present infrastructure of embankments and dykes to block the intrusion of sea tides and lower the damages for which required machinery including excavators be made available at dykes.

Referring to the weak and damaged bridge connecting Thatta and Sujawal cities, Chief Minister Sindh informed the meeting that this bridge would be replaced with a new bridge to facilitate the large no of people travelling through this bridge.

CM Sindh also lauded the performance of Irrigation department for ensuring water supply to the tail-end growers which was not possible during last 40 years.

Zaman suggested in the meeting to nominate a focal person at each divisional or district level to have better coordination among all the departments during any disaster. He added that PDMA was doing its best with available resources to the face disasters, adding that NDMA has been approached to provide and assist PDMA to enhance the its capacity.

Owais Muzaffar expressing his gratitude to Chief Minister Sindh for timely assistance and visit of Thatta said that Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were taking keen interest for the development and uplift of the coastal areas.

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