Flood waters surge in Pak’s Punjab, death toll mounts to 79

Flood waters surged on Wednesday through Pakistan`s central Punjab province, destroying homes and crops taking the deal toll to 79.

Updated: Aug 04, 2010, 23:36 PM IST

Lahore/Peshawar: Flood waters surged on Wednesday
through Pakistan`s central Punjab province, destroying homes
and crops taking the deal toll to 79, even as authorities
warned the deluge could spread to southern Sindh which has
largely remained unaffected.

After causing widespread destruction in the northwest,
the waters wreaked havoc in cities and villages of Punjab, the
most populous province.

Ten people were killed in Muzaffarghar when the boat
they were travelling in capsized. Officials put the total
death toll in the province at 79.
Unprecedented monsoon rains triggered the worst floods
in Pakistan since 1929. The floods have affected a total of
3.2 million people and killed 1,500 across the country.

Some 30,000 people were evacuated by the military and
rescue services from Kot Addu city in Punjab province and
nearby Layyah while 800,000 others were still stranded.

The floods threatened a key power plant and an oil
refinery at Kot Addu. The floods also affected Mithankot,
Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan.

Waters inundated railway tracks and crops on thousands
of acres.

The shrine of Sufi poet Hazrat Khwaja Fareed was
closed in view of the flood threat.

People stranded by floods in Taunsa Sharif and Dera
Ghazi Khan complained that they were still waiting for aid
from the government.

Floods also hit Jhang district, inundating 80

A breach in a water channel on the banks of the Jhelum
river allowed flood waters to inundate a vast area of Kot Khan
and Pirkot Sadhna in Jhang.

Authorities in southern Sindh province said flood
waters were expected to enter the province from Punjab by
August 6 or 7 and could affect a million people living in some
2000 villages located in Sukkur and Thatta districts.
The Pakistan Navy placed its bases and units,
including 10 search and rescue teams, in Sindh on high alert,
officials said.

In southwestern Balochistan province, the flood
situation in Jafarabad and Nasirabad worsened following heavy
rains today.

There was a rise in levels of dams in Kohlu area and
people were asked to move to safer areas.

At least 24 people were killed and nearly 100 injured
in Balochistan while some 50 others were missing, officials

In the northwest, officials of the Provincial Disaster
Management Authority said relief activities had increased at
camps and in flood-affected areas after heavy rains eased

Though flood waters continued to recede, Dera Ismail
Khan and Tank districts were put on alert again for flash
floods, the UN said.

There was no flood warning for dams in Khyber-
Pakhtunkhwa and the flows in all but two rivers were normal, a
spokesman for the PDMA told agency.
"We are concentrating on providing relief to the
victims and evacuating the stranded people," he said.

The demands forwarded by district administrations to
cope with the natural calamity have been fulfilled and Rs 4
crore was provided for meeting emergency needs, he added.

Floods and landslides in the northwest destroyed
entire villages and ruined farmlands and infrastructure.

The military said over 54,000 people had been rescued
and moved to safer places.

The army launched its biggest ever rescue operation in
the flood-hit Kalam area with 18 helicopters.

"People immediately need food, water, shelter, health
facilities, medicines and sanitation," a spokesman for a local
donor agency said.

Food packets provided by the US have been distributed
among 70,000 people.

The government has also set up relief camps at 310