Multan/MUZAFFARGARH/ RAHIM YAR KHAN - Another six people were swept away in flood on Tuesday in Muzaffargarh and Multan districts while floodwater entered  Rahim Yar Khan district too, destroying thousands of homes and causing huge losses.

High flood has been recorded at Panjnad headworkers, where water flow crossed 415,000 cusecs. The Shehr Sultan dyke (60 miles south-east of Multan) was under threat and the administration ordered evacuation of people from rural areas of Alipur and Jatoi. Due to high alert situation in river Indus, Bahawalpur Core Commander Lt-Gen Javed Iqbal along with other military and civil high officials visited Bangla Dilkusha and Jamal Deen Wali bund to observe the flood situation there.

Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday also visited flood hit areas of Muzaffargarh and promised that all the flood victims would be compensated for their damaged houses, crops and livestock and they would be rehabilitated as early as possible.

Dera Ghazi Khan commissioner said that over 60 percent area of Muzaffargarh has been inundated. Floodwater from river Chenab has flooded 80 villages of Jatoi and Alipur tehsils in this district. Chenab flood also submerged 50 villages in Rahim Yar Khan and it is expected to enter Guddu Barrage.

Dozens of villages have also been inundated in tehsil Ahmedpur Sharqia and Alipur. Nearly 35,000 people have been affected by the floods there. The water level is continuously rising in river Indus at Rajanpur and as a result several villages were inundated.

Three of the six people who were swept away in Muzaffargarh district, namely Muhammad Iqbal, Allah Ditta and Nasim Mai, were trying to shift their goods to safer place in village Thatta Sialan. Two people drowned in Jalalpur Pirwala tehsil of Multan district.

Over two million people have been affected in this year’s floods across the county. About 500,000 people have been rescued and shifted to safe places in Punjab alone. The ISPR said army troops carried out rescue and relief operation in the villages of Makhan Baila, Bakhtiari and Bella Jhallan of Ahmedpur East tehsil and shifted the flood affected to camps and other safe places. “I can understand the problems of flood victims and the government will do its best to rehabilitate those affected by the floods... the government will fulfil its responsibility to mitigate your grief,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while addressing the flood victims in Muzaffargarh district on Tuesday.

“Whoever has suffered losses because of floods, we will try to compensate those losses,” he said, adding, “I am standing by you; I will help you get back on your feet.” He said, “I and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will remain with you till this disaster is over.”

The PM however said this is a natural calamity and the government has no control over it. He praised the flood victims for their patience in these trying times. He also thanked police, army and rescue teams for helping the flood victims. Nawaz Sharif said that all the damaged houses will be rebuilt and he will personally monitor this activity. He prayed for an end to the floods and said that the government will not leave the flood victims alone.

The floods this year have wreaked havoc the way they did in 2010. Over a million people have been affected and hundreds of them killed. Large swathes of Multan, Muzaffargarh and surrounding areas have been inundated, and many people took refuge on nearby dykes with their belongings including their livestock.

Earlier on arrival at Muzaffargarh, the PM was briefed about the losses. He was informed that more than 25,000 people have been shifted to safer places and they were being provided relief items and medical facilities. PM Nawaz met affected families living in government-run relief camps. Commissioner Shahzad Fasil, DCO Hafiz Shaukat Ali, DPO Rai Zameerul Hqa, MPA Hamad Nawaz Tipu, MPA Qaswar Karim Langria and other notables were also present on the occasion.

Bahawalpur Core Commander Lt-Gen Javed Iqbal along with Maj-Gen M Sadiq, Rahim Yar Khan Brigade Commander Brig M Munir, DCO Nabeel Ahmed and DEO Abdus Sattar visited Bangla Dilkusha and Jamal Deen Wali Bund and observed the flood situation there. Performance of all relevant departments was also checked at this visit and the Core Commander was briefed about the on ground situation.

DCO Nabeel Ahmed informed that there were nice dangerous sites where breaches could occur. He informed that Rescue 1122 workers were working with 13 boats and 74 rescuers in cooperation of Pakistan Army. Lt-General Javed Iqbal announced Rs 50,000 cash prize for Rescue 1122 workers at this occasion.

Bahawalpur Irrigation Chief Engineer told The Nation that water discharge at Panjnad headworks in Bahawalpur district was rising, but the flow of 434,000 cusecs recorded at 9am on Tuesday was manageable according to him. Irrigation authorities said that a breach in the right marginal dyke, as anticipated earlier, might not be required as the Panjnad headworks can sustain water flow of up to 700,000 cusecs and they were expecting maximum 600,000 cusecs water till late night.

The chief engineer said, “We expect that the pick will not be more than 450,000 cusecs before the water falls into the Indus River. And in Indus, there will be a maximum flood of about 500,000 cusecs that will pass Guddu and Sukkur barrages on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Like in Muzaffargarh, people along the right marginal dyke of Alipur were also opposed to its breach. MNA Sardar Ashiq Gopang, along with a large number of villagers, visited Panjnad and demanded the authorities wait and take a decision after a thorough deliberation.

Meanwhile, over 2,000 villagers attacked MNA Jamshed Dasti, prompting a baton charge from police. Mr Dasti reached the area to see the breach and reportedly supported its plugging, angering the villagers. They beat him up and broke his jeep’s window pans. Dasti saved his life by fleeing on a motorcycle.

The affectees alleged that Dasti had flooded a vast area and put thousands of people in trouble to save a textile mill after getting a bribe of Rs70 million. When DCO Hafiz Shaukat Ali went to the area with his team and police, the villagers chanted slogans and also tried to attack on him. Police sprang into action and dispersed them.

The affectees of Shershah also chanted slogans “Go Nawaz Go” when PM Nawaz Sharif visited the affected area. They also manhandled the Provincial Prison Minister Abdul Waheed Arain and MPA Malik Muhammad Ali Khokhar and damaged their vehicles. Police saved their lives. Waheed Arain alleged that the attackers were not affectees but workers of PTI who reached there at the call of Abbas Akbar Mohni Shah, an influential of the area.