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Floods in Gwadar port city make mockery of China’s ambitious CPEC

A bird's eye view of Gwadar port being built by China (Photo: IANS)

The smart port city of Gwadar, being jointly built by China and Pakistan under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), lies flooded along with many other towns in Balochistan. Angry residents uploaded images and videos of the unprecedented flooding that overwhelmed Gwadar city.

Pakistani officials have touted Gwadar as the future Singapore of Pakistan with mega investment by China in the construction of a port. The strong westerly winds that brought heavy rains to Balochistan have inundated large parts of the city, inviting sarcasm from local people about the quality of Chinese work.

Maulana Hidayatur Rehman Baloch, the leader of the powerful Give Rights to Gwadar movement, put up photographs of flooded areas on Twitter and said: "After a day of rain, these are the sights of Gwadar, the future called Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong and the heart and forehead of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor). There is water in people's houses and shops. It happens every time. Where are the billions of rupees that are claimed?"

Journalist Adnan Aamir commented: “Roads and streets of Gwadar engulfed by water after a few hours rain. In last six years after inception of CPEC, Gwadar still has the look of an under-developed ancient town”.

Balochistan's coastal belt, also known as the Makran coastline, received heavy rains that flooded the towns of Kech, Turbat, Buleda, Tump and Bilnagor. Scores of people reported damaged homes across different towns in Balochistan. The various ports in Balochistan like Ormara and Jeewani too are flooded.

Local newspaper, Balochistan Times also uploaded videos showing massive floods that have overwhelmed rural areas with stranded people seeking rescue.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo called a meeting to monitor the situation. The Pakistani army and the navy have begun rescue and relief work. The Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) too has initiated rescue work.

The heavy rains and storms have disrupted power in an area which was already short on gas and power. The local Baloch people had recently led a mass movement over the poor basic living conditions due to paucity of water, electricity and loss of fishing livelihoods. They even threatened a boycott of the CPEC if the Pakistani government led by Imran Khan did not accept their demands.