District Layyah is located in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. It is a least developed district of Punjab which undergoes annual flooding. Historically, people of Layyah are riverine as earliest colonies built up on the bank of River Indus which flows in the west of district. District Layyah is comprised of three tehsils named as Tehsil Layyah, Karor and Chaubara. Though tehsil Layyah and karor are fertile, Chaubara is a desert.
The 2010 flood was declared as Super Flood by the Government of Punjab. People residing in rural areas were the most affected group which is associated with agricultural sector, has low income status, minimal access to education, health services, water supply and sanitation. In particular, the homes, infrastructure, transport system and schools of this vulnerable group have been destroyed due to 2010 super flood. The weather of Layyah is extreme hot in summers; however, winters are tolerably cold. Rural areas of Layyah are most neglected even though development is ongoing within city.
I really love Layyah as it is my home town. In 2017, I had a chance to explore the rural areas of Layyah which are prone to flood hazard. I have seen the River Indus and the flood affected communities in four different Union Councils of District Layyah. Although flood comes annually, people of Layyah are resilient towards it. Floods happen due to seasonal monsoon accompanied with other internal factors e.g poor drainage, poverty, negligence of local government institutions towards flood risk management cause damage to properties, loss of livestock, crops, livelihood and loss of lives of citizens.
People of Layyah are very assiduous and hospitable. Once you visit the city, you will tend to come again because of its serene environment. The females of rural areas of Layyah are very strong and share the burden of males by working in the fields with them. The socioeconomic status of communities is very low in the flood affected areas whereas flood affected communities are living hand to mouth. Whenever flood comes, vulnerable communities are shifted to flood relief camps with the coordinated efforts of Local Government, organizations and INGOs. During field visit, people had criticized the local government besides the emergency relief they get whenever flood hits their areas. One of the women told that they had rescued though lived in Layyah Jail for 2 months in 2010.
Layyah is a land of water and sand as its two Tehsils are fertile while the third one is barren and comprised of desert known as Thal Desert. Jeep Rally is held every year in Thal Desert of Layyah in which competitors come from all over the Pakistan. Dates and Sohan Halwa are the most special food items of District Layyah. Furthermore, the most famous crop of Layyah is sugarcane and black grams. Sugarcane crop is harvested in Tehsil Layyah and Karor whereas Black grams are produced in Tehsil Chaubara with artificial rainfall.
Hence, it is evident that Layyah is a very small city but clean and calm place with beautiful river side and mesmerizing sand dunes under one administration. I really feel peace in Layyah though visit my home there once in a month or two. I have decided to pay role in rural development of my hometown in order to make my people more sustainable and resilient.