Talking to reporters during a visit to a flooded area near the village of Lodra on Monday, he admitted that the government could not formulate solid policies and strategies for protection of people in the wake of flood threat because experts of irrigation and the departments concerned failed to provide information and guidance to people and evolve a strategy to cope with the emergency.

He said it was time to help flood victims collectively and not to hold inquiries and award punishments for the failures because affected people were facing crucial problems.

However, he assured of holding inquiries and awarding punishments to the officials responsible for their negligence in duties during the flood.

The chief minister claimed that Shikarpur city was safe now and said that efforts were being made to turn the direction of flood water to natural passages.

He said that if the people of the city wanted to go to some other safe places, they would be provided transportation facilities by the district administration free of cost.

He asked people to reach Rohri from where they would be sent to Hyderabad and Karachi free of cost if they desired to shift during the flood.

He said that 18,000 flood victims were accommodated in relief camps in Karachi while there was arrangement for 100,000 people. In the camps set up in Hyderabad, 6,000 victims have been registered so far.

The chief minister said 1.5 to 1.6 million people had been affected by flood in the province and added that 700,000 people were affected only in the kutcha area.

He said that following the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari, houses would be constructed for flood victims and financial assistance would also be extended to them.

He said that the UN, NGOs and philanthropists from all over the country and neighbouring countries had offered help in cash and kind for the rehabilitation of the flood affected people.

Earlier, the chief minister visited the flood affected areas by helicopter and observed the vulnerable points and railway line where water passages were made to reduce pressure of flood coming from Begari Canal branches.

Later, he held a meeting with MNA Aftab Shaban Mirani, Sindh Minister for Local Bodies Agha Siraj Durrani, Sindh Minister for Housing Agha Taimoor Khan and Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, adviser to the chief minister.

Meanwhile, the district administration and people were busy in constructing temporary dykes to save Shikarpur and other towns, and main villages in the district.

According to reports, flood water has entered Sultankot and Humayoon towns.

Police stations of Humayoon and Sultankot have been inundated and the railway stations as well as the Zarkhail link road and the Shikarpur-Jacobabad National Highway have also been submerged near the village of Lodra and Makholpur police check-post.

Dawn News