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300,000 people evacuated as Indus threatens Thatta town

Pakistani authorities on Friday ordered evacuation of 300,000 residents of one of the countries oldest towns Thatta after its flood protection defences were breached by the swollen Indus river.



Karachi: Pakistani authorities on Friday ordered
evacuation of 300,000 residents of one of the countries oldest
towns Thatta after its flood protection defences were breached
by the swollen Indus river.

Besides, Thatta, residents of four other major towns
Shahdadkot, Mirput Bathoro, Sujawal and Daro and the
surrounding villages have also been ordered to leave their
homes for safety, as UN warned that the country`s humanitarian
crisis was getting worse.

"We have ordered the people of Thatta and other threatened
towns to evacuate and move to safer places as the rising Indus
river has breached embankments of three major points," Sindh
Home Minister Zulfiqar Ali Mirza said.

After the alarm was sounded around midnight, hundreds of
thousands of people were shown on Television footage leaving
their homes in panic and hurry.

People left in cars, trucks, buses and even bullock carts
with their personal belongings. Authorities said at least 900,
000 would be evacuated from the region.

"The torrential monsoon rains and rising floods have not
it easy to carry out rescue operations while making it
difficult to ensure relief and aid reached all the affected
people," officials said.

The evacuation of fresh towns in the Southern Sindh
province comes as torrential rains have caused massive
flooding from the North of the country to the South, affecting
17 million people.

The Chief Administrator of the area Manzoor Sheikh said,
Army engineers were working to try to plug the beaches few
kilometres from the Thatta town to stop floodwaters from
entering the town.

Ali Gul Sanjrani another government official in the Thatta
district said that flooding water had already hit the road
linking Thatta and Hyderabad.

In a relief camp set up on the outskirts of Karachi,
medical officials reported that around 76 people had died from
gastro problems in Sindh with the deaths mainly attributed to
unhygienic food, contaminated water and bad sanitary condition
at the relief camps.

The worst-hit by the gastro diseases is District Kashmore
in the province where at least 54 people succumbed to the
disease.

Rescue officials said the heavy flooding had washed away
villages and destroyed livestock and crops on rich farmland.

The river Indus delta which is about 100 kilometres east
of Karachi has been worst hit by the floods with thousands of
people living in surrounding towns, villages and on
embankments already feeling for safety.

Floodwaters are beginning to recede across the country but
met officials say because of high tides in the Arabian sea and
possibility of more monsoon rains the danger of flooding
remains in Sindh province.

According to reports, the the floods in Pakistan have so
far claimed 1,600 lives, damaged at least 3.2 million hectares
of standing crop -- about 14 per cent of Pakistan`s entire
total cultivated land.

The deluge has also destroyed or damaged 1.2 million
homes and over 3.4 million hectares of crops have been lost.
Most of the newly displaced need shelter, food, water and
medical care.

"We are scaling up response to reach all those in
need," said Manuel Bessler, head of the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"But with one million more displaced people in Sindh
over the past two days, and thousands more people being
affected almost every day, needs quickly outplace our
capacity, our supplies, and our resources."

The number of flood-affected people in Sindh rose
sharply from 1.5 million on August 13 to 3.7 million today.

In terms of surface area, Sindh is now the worst-hit
province of Pakistan, officials said.

The Indus continued to be at an "exceptionally high
flood level" at Kotri Barrage, where a flow of 939,000 cusecs
was recorded today.

The high flood situation at Kotri is expected to cause
more flooding over the next eight to nine days There were
reports that gastro-enteritis and other waterborne diseases
had killed six persons in Zhob and Sherani districts of
Balochistan.

The torrential rains and floods had contaminated
underground water, and this caused the outbreak of diseases.

Amid the relief efforts, the Pakistani Taliban have
accused the West of having ulterior motives in sending aid and
issued a threat to foreign aid workers.

However, international agencies like the UN and ICRC
have said they are determined to continue relief operations
despite the perceived threat.

PTI

From Zee News

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