L ARKANA: Panic gripped Larkana after the receding Indus eroded a 200-foot wide portion of the Akil-Aghani loop bund between Spur-3 and Spur-4 on Monday. The dyke is five to six kilometres from the city.
Larkana DCO Hassan Naqvi told Dawn that the situation continued to be critical, although 150 feet of the erosion had been filled. However, he said, the situation did not demand evacuation of the city. He expressed the hope that the rest of the eroded portion would be filled at night and the dyke would be strengthened.
The delay in the arrival of required machinery and stones has slowed repairs, although Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Dr Shaffqat Soomro were supervising the work. Mr Khuhro expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the irrigation department.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and provincial Law Minister Ayaz Soomro visited the Akil-Aghani embankment. Mr Shah appealed to the people of Larkana not be excessively worried and said that efforts were being made to repair the eroded portion and reinforce the dyke.
He asked the authorities concerned to immediately move heavy machinery to the site and provide the required quantity of stones.
The news about the erosion ignited fears and a number of families left Larkana and Akil town.
Sources said that army and Rangers personnel were helping the local administration in filling the erosion. Villagers are also contributing their bit.
Provincial irrigation secretary Shuja Junejo said that danger was still not over. Senator Dr Safdar Abasi, Naheed Khan, MPA Haji Munwar Abbasi and senior officials also visited the area.
Sources at the National Highway Authority said heavy machinery had been moved to the area late on Monday night. Shahdadkot town, meanwhile, is still under threat as the water from breaches in Tori bund is reaching the town from three directions.
Qambar-Shahdadkot DCO Ghulam Yaseen Shar said the water was putting pressure on the temporarily-built dyke around the town. Weaker portions of the dyke are being strengthened with stones.
The DCO said that cuts had been made in RBOD-III and Zero-Point to accelerate the flow of water and reduce the threat. He said that troops and navy boats were evacuating people trapped in the area.
MNA Ramesh Lal said the situation remained unchanged.
Shafqat Wadho, Superintending Engineer of the Saifullah Magsi branch, told Dawn that water would be released into RBOD-I and Shahdadkot and Mirokhan drains from RBOD-III. It will then fall into Hamal lake.
He said he feared that the Main Nara Valley drain, RBOD-I and a protective dyke along Hamal lake might not withstand the mounting pressure of water.
He said that thousands of people were still trapped in villages.