2022 Flood in Sindh Pakistan – What I witnessed (Part 1)

Disaster management is all about the time which calls the human abilities, capabilities and expertise to overcome the bitterness and provide the nation a suitable life again.

Flood coverage in Sindh by Usman Khadim Kamboh
Flood in Sindh 2022 - Usman Khadim Kamboh

It was summer 1st September 2022, the time was 9:30pm. I (Usman Khadim Kamboh) was entering in my office (24 News HD) after covering a very long event at a hotel, I received a call from by bureau chief, he told me to go home, pack my bag and get ready for traveling to Sukkur, Sindh in the next morning. I put off my mobile phone and told the person on assignment desk that I have be instructed to go to Sukkur in the morning, so I am going home. When I was leaving the office, I received another call from the bureau chief that I must reach Hajj Terminal at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore at 5:30am because I am traveling by helicopter.

That was a surprise, at first, I thought, he was just joking, but then he told me that a helicopter was arranged for me to go to Sukkur and cover the flood disaster in Sindh province. I knew that it was going to be very exciting but very demanding coverage and journey. I packed my bag, and I was contacted my cameraman Shan Abu Bakar (shan) to be at airport at 5:30am.

Flood in Pakistan Sindh - Usman Khadim Kamboh
Hajj Terminal, Alama Iqbal International Airport Lahore

Both of us reached the airport on time, but we were told by the security officer that, helicopter can fly after 7:30am. It was a luxury hanger where two helicopters were parked, and a small jet was also there. I saw a logo on the doors and floor of rooms which indicated that this hanger belonged to famous property tycoon of Pakistan. At 7:30am we were told that helicopter has some technical issue so it cannot fly, and we must go back home. My cameraman and I returned to our homes.

At 12:00pm, I was sleeping at my apartment when my phone range and when I received the call, it was the same person from airport who asked us to go back home, he told me that helicopter is ready and if I want to go, I must reach the airport in 30 minutes. My cameraman (I’ll refer him as Shan now) and I reached the airport at 12:45pm and boarded the helicopter at 1:00pm and helicopter took off.

Usman Khadim Kamboh flood coverage
About to fly

I started my ‘as live’ at the airport and the journey began. The engineer on the helicopter told me that it will take three hours to reach Sukkur which is 785 kilometers. Here I want to tell that, this coverage operation was arranged and was being monitored by the owner and CEO of City Media Group Mr. Moshin Naqvi (now Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab) and he was continuously in touch with me.

Usman Khadim Kamboh- Mohsin Naqvi CM
Pride Moments ''CEO City Media Group"

It was my first time on a helicopter, and I was told by my senior journalists that I was going to be one of the few journalists in Pakistan who covered any disaster on a helicopter. During the flight I interviewed the helicopter engineer, and he told us technical details of our flight. The first one and half hours was good, and we watched the beautiful landscapes of Punjab and South Punjab, then we reached the border of Punjab and Sindh, and it was the affected area. There was flood water everywhere, only National Highways, trees and some roofs were visible. Everything else was under water. But it was just the beginning. When we entered Sindh, a real disaster was waiting for us to be watched. There was chaos, flood water spread miles of miles, no sign of life, no homes, no buildings, not even highways were visible. Everything had drowned. We captured a lot of videos with our camera. I also recorded two ‘as live’ for my channel. We flew for one and half hours in Sindh’s territory and there were very few buildings left and only roofs were visible. Railway tracks were also under water, and it was like there were small islands with no road contact.

First news story (Flood in Sindh):

We also saw people at some places taking refuge at high lands and dunes. Then we landed at Sukkur airport. It was a small airport, and no aircraft was there, but there were some Airforce’s helicopters. The airport’s security chief received us and took us to the lounge. They have already been told that we were the guests of Syed Nasir Hussain Shah (Provincial Minister for Local Government), he was also the feudal lord of the area. A black Vigo and an SUV was in the parking waiting for us. We were escorted by security from the airport to our hotel. It was 6:30pm when we reached the hotel. Every wall in the hotel was damped and it was because of flood water in the area.

Usman Khadim Kamboh - 2022 Flood in Sindh
Syed Nasir Hussain Shah

Our bags were taken to our rooms, and we went to the house of our host Mr. Nasir Hussain Shah, where he briefed me about the flood situation in Sukkur and Sindh. We visited the localities of Sukkur along with Nasir Hussain Shah and then returned to the hotel. The Internet was very slow, and it took two hours to send all the footage and as live to our channel. Then we slept and the real journey started the next day. Which you can read in the next part of this blog, in which you will read and watch the videos and pictures of our next 19 days.

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