Sindh regions put on high alert due to flood; 15 mn affected

Last Updated: Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 20:36

Karachi: Flood hit Sindh province was
on Saturday put on high alert as Pakistan braced for worst deluge in
80 years with the Indus river in spate, even as about 15
million people have been affected by it all over the country.

Heavy monsoon rains exacerbated the situation in
northern regions already devastated by the flood situation,
killing over 40 people.

The Indus river was in spate in Sindh, with flows of
1,080,000 cusecs and 980,000 cusecs recorded at the Guddu
Barrage and Sukkur Barrage, respectively.

Meanwhile, authorities raced to evacuate families
threatened with fresh floods as heavy rains worsened the
disaster in its second week, with up to 15 million people
already affected.

The Meteorological Department declared all areas on
the banks of the Indus in Sindh dangerous. Soldiers were
deployed with machinery to repair a bund near Kashmore that
was damaged by the gushing torrents of water.

Authorities in four districts of Sindh were on high
alert and over a million people have already been evacuated in
the province. The level of the Indus and other rivers rose in
the Northern Areas following fresh rains.

About 47 people were feared killed and dozens more
were missing following flash floods in Skardu district.

Several injured persons were airlifted to hospital by
helicopters.

In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the level of the
Neelum and Jhelum rivers rose after heavy rains over the past
two days and authorities issued a flood warning to people
living along the banks of both rivers.

National Disaster Management Authority chief Nadeem
Ahmed has said 12 million people have been affected by the
floods in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces and other
officials said at least two million more were affected in
Sindh.

The total figure is much higher than the UN?s earlier
estimate of 4.5 million. Officials have said that over 1,600
people have died in rain-related incidents and floods across
the country.

Over 1.4 million acres of crop land have been
inundated and more than 10,000 heads of cattle washed away.

Officials have estimated the cost of repairing roads, dams and
power infrastructure in the northwest alone at s 7.5 billion.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which has borne the brunt of
the country`s worst floods since 1929, intermittent showers
lashed people living in camps who complained they had been
without aid for over a week.

The bad weather in the northwest affected helicopter
flights ferrying relief materials to Swat and Shangla
districts.

Aid workers reported food shortages in many flood-hit
areas in the northwest, where victims were surviving on food
provided by local NGOs and groups like the Falah-e-Insaniyat,
a front for the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.

Officials warned the northwest could again be hit by
flash floods during the next 24 to 36 hours due to an expected
rise in the level of the Kabul river and its tributaries in
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Disaster management authorities issued a fresh
warning asking people to be alert for any eventuality and
directing district administrations to be on alert.

In Punjab`s Rajanpur districts, flood waters
threatened Rojhan town after devastating Jampur. With people
having abandoned their homes in Jampur, there were reports of
gangs looting shops and houses.

Supplies from the Pakistan State Oil depot in Punjab
to other parts of the country was halted because of the
floods. The closure of two key power plants in Punjab deprived
the power grid of 1,600 MW.

An area of about 40 sq km from Mahmood Kot to Kot
Addu and Daira Din Pannah resembled a lake.

"We don`t know if anybody is stranded in Sanwan, Kot
Addu and Gurmani because we can`t go there," said irrigation
official Nazar Husain. About 450,000 people were displaced in
Kot Addu while over 700,000 people had become homeless in
Muzaffargarh.

The military, which has deployed over 40,000
soldiers and sailors for relief operations, continued
evacuating people in flood-hit areas of Punjab and Sindh.

The army has also set up dozens of relief camps in
areas affected by the deluge. Foreign countries and the UN
have pledged millions of dollars to help reconstruction
efforts and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appealed for
international aid during a televised address to the nation
after visiting flooded areas.

"Pakistan has been hit by the worst floods of its
history. At this time of crisis I would like to appeal to the
international community to support Pakistan to help alleviate
the suffering of the flood-affected people," he said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 20:36

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