Pak floods: 60,000 people ordered to evacuate towns, cities

Pakistani authorities on Thursday ordered nearly 600,000 people to evacuate towns and cities in Sindh province as the swollen Indus river burst protective dykes and threatened further devastation.

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities on Thursday
ordered nearly 600,000 people to evacuate towns and cities in
Sindh province as the swollen Indus river burst protective
dykes and threatened further devastation after wreaking havoc
in other parts of the country.

The administration ordered residents of Shahdadkot and
nearby areas in Sindh to leave their homes this morning after
waters submerged the streets of the city.
Announcements from mosques asked people to immediately
flee the area and move to safer locations. Over100,000 people
were moved to safety from Shahdadkot.

Residents of Sujawal, Mirpur Bathoro, Liaqpur and
Dharo towns too were warned to move to safer places due to an
imminent threat of flooding.

The warning was issued after flood waters surged
through a hundred-foot breach in a dyke at Sarjani village
near Thatta and inundated several villages.

The Pakistan Navy deployed 35 boats, two hovercraft
and two helicopters for rescue missions. Army officials said
they were focussing on evacuating people as it was impossible
to plug the breach in the dyke at Sarjani.

Officials said flood waters were mounting pressure on
a protective bund in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh village, where former
premiers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto are buried.
The Indus has swollen from its normal width of about
300 metres to almost 3.5 kilometres at Kotri in Sindh.

Officials said the river is likely to be at an
"exceptionally high flood" level of about 940,000 cusecs at
Kotri during the next 24 hours.

The water level in the Arabian Sea too is rising,
forcing the Indus to flow back inland. This phenomenon could
trigger flooding in Badin area of Sindh, officials said.

There were also reports of more deaths due to
waterborne diseases from flood-hit areas of the impoverished
Balochistan province.
Two children displaced by the floods died of
gastroenteritis while 40 others were hospitalized in Dera
Murad Jamali today.

A large number of flood victims living in relief camps
in Dera Murad Jamali are suffering from cholera and

Waterborne diseases in relief camps across Balochistan
have added to the woes of flood victims.

Though some 2.5 million flood victims have been
provided clean water by aid agencies, the UN said another 3.5
million have only contaminated water to drink.

The polluted water promotes transmission of diseases,
said UN officials.

The UN plans to introduce large water purification
systems. The flood waters have moved south after causing
widespread destruction in the northwestern and central parts
of the country.

Over 1,700 people have been killed and 20 million
affected by the floods that were triggered by heavy monsoon
rains which began in the last week of July.

The government and international aid agencies are
straining to cope with Pakistan`s worst humanitarian crisis
that has affected a fifth of the country or an area the size
of Britain.

The UN has sought 40 additional helicopters for relief
missions as 800,000 flood victims are only accessible by air.

Amidst reports of the possible kidnapping of foreign
aid workers by the Taliban, UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano
told the media that the world body faces such threats in other
areas where it works.
The UN has security mechanisms in place and the threat
"will not and must not stop humanitarian and life-saving
operations", he said.

Giuliano acknowledged that the security concerns will
add to the "colossal" problem of providing relief to millions
of flood victims.

The UN and aid agencies are also facing the challenges
of logistics and funding in delivering relief, he said.

President Asif Ali Zardari, criticised for travelling
to Europe just after the flooding began, today called for
faster disbursement of funds pledged by the world community so
that Pakistan could begin rehabilitating flood victims at the

During a meeting with representatives of donor
organizations and ambassadors of various countries, Zardari
appreciated the international community`s support to meet the
challenge of the floods, which he described as a "slow motion

However, he said the aid from the international
community was only a short-term measure to control the
prevailing situation.

A long-term remedy to address Pakistan`s "stupendous
loss" should include enhanced market access for Pakistani
products, according preferential trade facilities, creating
Reconstruction Opportunity Zones and more investments in the
country, he said.


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