Coastal area people recall cyclone 1999, foresee threats of engulfing villages

March 5, 2016 Off By Web Desk

BADINI: A large number of fisherwomen hailing from villages of disaster-prone coastal areas of Badin received caravan of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Saturday, fifth day when it arrived at Khorwah roundabout. Then the caravan moved to Golarchi town, where PFF chairperson, Mustafa Meerani and Mithan Mallah addressed the crowd and delivered aims and objectives and invited the people to join the PFF for the protection of the rights.

Earlier, the caravan paid homage to the brave leader, Tahira Ali Shah, who died on March 10, 2015 while going to attend a rally in Badin to commemorate the International Rivers Day. The activists installed memorial stone at the site of accident near Budho Talpur stop to remember their leader.

PFF chairperson in his message on the day appealed to the coastal area people to keep in mind that the sea intrusion is warning call for the communities, residing at the coastline, that the sea may engulf their villages sooner or later. Sea level rise and climate change is global issue and the people in coastal areas here in Pakistan should be aware and avoid any destruction as their area has been declared as disaster-prone. There are forecast that the frequent cyclones, tsunamis, high tides and floods may hit these areas. The coastal area might be worst affected due to certain disasters, as the people have already experienced these effects. The 14-day caravan started from Karachi on March 1 with demand of ensuring food sovereignty and climate justice to avoid further destruction.

PFF chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah, vice chairpersons Fatima Majeed, Mustafa Meerani, Gulab Shah, Yasmin Shah, Ayoub Shan and a large number of people, belonging to fishermen and peasants communities led the caravan. More than 100 participants, including fisherwomen, peasants women in the caravan, wearing specially designed caps continued to proceed enthusiastically. The banners holding participants inscribed with slogans demanding food sovereignty, climate justice, stop deforestation, restore mangroves and riverine forests, save fresh water bodies.

The caravan participants were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans demanding to ensure water flow to the delta, save river ecology, stop deforestation, restore mangroves and riverine forests, save fresh water bodies. The caravan organised a walk in Jati Town, Sujawal district, which attracted hundreds of coastal area people, who greeted the participants and extended their full support for the cause.

The procession on Friday crossed the River Indus bridge, dividing Thatta and Sujawal districts and marched from the streets of Sujawal city and moved to Chohar Jamali, a famous coastal town. Then it crossed Jati town to reach its destination Village Ishaq Tahahimor, one of the worst affected villages of the coastal area by Cyclone May 20, 1999, which played havoc in the coastal region, killing several people and caused destruction of infrastructures and boats.

The caravan stayed a night over in Ishaq Thahimor where the organizers arranged cultural events and awareness raising meetings with villages near there. The caravan of community people arrived in Shaikh Karahyo shrine, the last land route in Badin district, where a large number of people received the guests with cultural gathering.

The routes defined for this unique caravan, include Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Mithi, Umer Kot, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Nowshehro Feroz, Dadu, Jamshoro & Hyderabad. At all destinations, the caravan participants daily will have meetings with communities to spread message for showing ownership of the great River Indus, Indus delta, tributaries, freshwater bodies and natural resources, demanding to ensure “food sovereignty and climate justice”. On the last day, March 14, the caravan will mark the annual International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams at the bank of the River Indus, Al-Manzar Jamshoro, where hundreds of people will participate.