Islamabad: After causing widespread damage in northern Punjab in Pakistan, the devastating floods now threaten the historic city of Multan and its famous shrines, even as authorities struggle to save the city.
The floods, triggered by heavy monsoon showers, have inundated dozens of villages in central Pakistan.
One of the main rivers of the country, Chenab, is still in high flood and has already caused widespread destruction in the agricultural backbone of Punjab.
The river has now hit the southern reaches of Punjab threatening Multan, also known as the city of saints, and its popular shrines and mausoleums.
To save Multan from the swollen Chenab, explosives have been planted to blow strategic dykes to divert the floodwater away from the city.
Muhammad Afzal, a district administration official, said some protective embankments were breached to divert the water.
At least 125 villages were already inundated and more are threatened, The Express Tribune reported.
Multan region was the focus of all relief and rescue operations, and over 1,100 boats and 16 helicopters were being used to evacuate people from Jhang, Multan and Muzaffargarh, according to Dawn.
After Multan and Muzaffargarh districts, officials fear the floods may hit the southern Sindh province over the weekend.
Rains and floods have killed 264 people, including 184 in Punjab, 66 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and another 14 in Gilgit-Baltistan regions, according to National Disaster Management Authority.
The NDMA said close to two million people were already affected by the deluge.
Experts believe that the number of people displaced by water will increase in coming days.