Pak authorities warn of second wave of floods

Pakistani authorities on Thursday issued warnings for a second wave of floods as the swollen Indus river submerged more villages and cropland in southern Sindh province, adding to the millions of people affected by the deluge.

Updated: Aug 12, 2010, 20:30 PM IST

Karachi/Lahore: Pakistani authorities
on Thursday issued warnings for a second wave of floods as the
swollen Indus river submerged more villages and cropland in
southern Sindh province, adding to the millions of people
affected by the deluge.

The Meteorological Department warned that the Indus
would attain "exceptionally high flood" level of up to one
million cusecs at Guddu by tomorrow and at Sukkur in Sindh by
August 15.
The second wave of floods could inundate low lying
areas in Khairpur, Jacobabad, Ghotki, Sukkur and Larkana,
officials said.

The department further warned that the Chenab river
would attain "high flood" level at Marala and Khanki by
tomorrow, threatening low-lying areas in Gujranwala, Sialkot
and Gujrat in Punjab province.

It asked authorities to take steps to prevent loss of
life and property.

The Meteorological Department forecast widespread
thunderstorm and rains in the upper catchment areas of the
Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej rivers over the next 24 hours.

In southern Pakistan, the Indus inundated some 650
villages in Shikarpur district and submerged a section of the
Sindh-Balochistan railway track.

At least five persons drowned over the past few days.

People were living in the open after waters entered
their home.

Officials said about 400,000 people across Jacobabad
district were affected by the floods.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who has been criticised
for travelling to Europe after the unprecedented monsoon rains
hit Pakistan, today made his first visit to flood-hit areas
when he travelled to Sukkur. He was briefed on the situation
by senior officials.

Zardari also toured the Sukkur Barrage and met people
made homeless by the floods.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani surveyed devastated
areas of Punjab and Balochistan from the air and directed
officials to speed up efforts to reach out to stranded people.

The government will divert funds from development
projects to help flood victims and review budgetary
allocations, he said.
As weather conditions improved in some flood-affected
areas, aid workers and government organisations rushed food,
water and medical supplies to the victims.

Nearly 1,700 people have died so far and the UN has
warned there could be more deaths if relief supplies are not
rushed to the worst-hit areas.

Aid workers and the authorities struggled to cope as
the flood waters inundated fresh areas in Punjab and Sindh.

The high flood in the Indus threatened Rojhan in
Punjab and residents began evacuating the town. A number of
villages in Dera Ghazi Khan were submerged, leaving thousands
of people homeless.

In Islamabad, Food and Agriculture Minister Nazar
Muhammad Gondal said the floods had caused huge losses to
crops across the country.

Grain stocks were destroyed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
province though some stocks in southern Punjab were safe, he

"We have losses in cotton, in sugarcane, in rice, in
pulses and in tobacco ? these are huge losses for the future..
....These are the nation`s cash crops which will really affect
the economy," Gondal told the BBC.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a briefing
that Pakistan is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to mobilise
the international community and the Pakistanis diaspora to
raise funds for flood victims.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited
flood-hit areas of southern Punjab with foreign envoys to
mobilise international aid.

But UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano said billions of
dollars may be needed to help the more than 14 million people
affected by the floods and to rebuild infrastructure.

"I think it`s safe to say it will take some billions
of dollars to recover. I am referring to livelihood for
agriculture and farming to get back in shape,? he told the

Giuliano said USD 105 million is required to provide
tents or plastic sheeting as shelter for an initial target of
over two million people.

Another USD 150 million is need to provide food for up
to six million people while USD 110 million is needed to
supply clean water to people who may face an increasing risk
of waterborne diseases.

At a meeting chaired by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani, the corps commanders today decided to cancel army
functions scheduled for August 14 and September 6 so that
funds could be used for relief activities.