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Rain Floods crushed peasants and rural workers, and Government ignored them in emergency response

Karachi, September 21, 2022: The Hari Welfare Association regretted that millions of peasants, agricultural laborers and women of Sindh have been severely affected the most due to the ravages of torrential rains, their houses have collapsed, livestock has died, Crops of cotton and sugarcane have been destroyed, they are helpless on the roads without food and water. Children, women and old aged are suffering from various communicable diseases i.e. dengue, and malaria due to stagnant rainwater. The government has provided food to some extent but it has been delivered on a political basis.

In a statement released on Wednesday, HWA President Akram Khaskheli said that due to the recent rains, there has been massive destruction in Sindh, in which millions of people have been displaced, and millions of acres of agricultural land inundated by flooding, he said that peasants and labours are affected the most.

According to the recent report released by PDMA Sindh, around 11 million people have been affected in Sindh, but the ground reality is different and the actual number is more than 15 million, including more than 10 million farmers, agricultural laborers, and daily wagers. More than 5 million acres of cultivated land have been destroyed and 90% of it, was cotton crops, which has affected millions of farmers who are now more indebted due to this crop failure. This worst situation will be converted into forced labor and the children of peasants who are studying will also suffer from child labor. It has been estimated that more than 10 million children will be out of school.

Akram Ali further said that during the rain situation in Sindh, the government failed to provide immediate help to the people, due to which many people died. The current health system has collapsed and they are failed to provide emergency health services to flood-affected people who are suffering from communicable diseases. 

Khaskhali said that during the monsoon rains, the influential landlords diverted flood water with illegal breaches to save only their agricultural land and bungalows and it destroyed millions of poor people’s houses.

He said that there has been destruction in Sindh due to the failure of cleaning and weak banks of canals. The expenses of RBOD and LBOD repairing must be investigated by the honorable court. The government has failed to release the water from agricultural land and it seems that the wheat crop couldn’t be cultivated on time and this may increase the food crisis in the country to an extreme extent.

He said that strict measures should be taken to prevent forced labor by activating the Vigilance Committees formed in every district under the Sindh Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 2015, and under the The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018. The Sindh Child Protection Authority and National Commission on the Rights of child must play a role and push the government to make concrete policy to take out of school children into school.

Addressing the European Union, he said that more than 75% of Pakistan’s cotton/textile exports to Europe, on the basis of which the European Union has given Pakistan the status of GSP Plus. The European Union should bind the government of Pakistan for the rehabilitation of cotton harvesting peasants and this should be monitored by the European Union itself.

HWA said that ILO should also ask the government regarding implementation of ILO conventions regarding decent work and bonded labour including all eight Fundamental Conventions.

HWA demanded that the peasants and laborers of Sindh have been destroyed at this time, so the government should distribute the government lands among the farmers so that the landless farmers can get out of poverty and forced labor. Therefore, farmers should be registered in social security, farmers should be allowed to form their own unions easily under the SIRA-2014, and an immediate relief package should be announced for farmers.

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