ISLAMABAD (AP) — Officials warned on Sunday that further flooding was expected as Lake Manchar in southern Pakistan swelled due to record monsoon rains that began in mid-June and killed nearly 1,300 people.
Meteorologists predicted more rain in the area in the coming days and authorities urged villagers in Jamshoro and Dadu districts of Sindh province near the lake to evacuate. Rising waters reached dangerous levels and posed a threat to a protective levee and embankment, they said. The lake, located west of the Indus River, is the largest natural freshwater lake in Pakistan and one of the largest in Asia.
Fariduddin Mustafa, Jamshoro district administrator, said on Sunday authorities had cut the lake embankment to allow excess water to escape and eventually flow into the Indus River. Still, the water continues to rise, he said.
Parts of Dadu district have already been flooded, officials said.
″After we assessed that the water levels had reached (a) dangerous level…and it was feared that the embankment of the lake could collapse at any moment, the administration decided to cut the side of Bagh-e-Yousuf to avoid any uncontrollable flow of water,” he said.
The development comes a day after Pakistan again appealed to the international community to come to the aid of victims of unprecedented floods caused by monsoon rains that left nearly 1,300 people dead and millions homeless across the country. the country. Planes from several countries brought supplies to the impoverished country through a humanitarian airlift.
Many officials and experts have blamed the unusual monsoon rains and flooding on climate change, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who last week called on the world to stop “sleepwalking” during this deadly crisis. He will travel to Pakistan on September 9 to visit flood-affected areas and meet with officials.
In its latest report, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority put the death toll since mid-June – when the monsoon rains began weeks earlier this year – at 1,290, as more deaths were reported in flood-affected areas of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.
The authority said relief and rescue operations were continuing on Sunday with troops and volunteers using helicopters and boats to evacuate stranded people from flooded areas to relief camps where they received shelter, food and health care.
Dozens of relief camps have been set up in government buildings serving tens of thousands of people while thousands more have taken refuge by the roadsides on higher ground.
The government’s initial estimates said the devastation caused $10 billion in damage, but Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Saturday that “the scale of the devastation is massive and requires an immense humanitarian response for 33 million people”.
The new request for international aid came as Pakistan received 30 planes loaded with relief supplies from Turkey, China, the United Arab Emirates, France, Uzbekistan and other countries, and other planes are expected in the next few days.
Two members of Congress, Sheila Jackson and Tom Suzy, were due to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday to visit flood-affected areas and meet with officials.
Associated Press reporter Mohammad Farooq in Sukkur and Asim Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan contributed to this report.
Zarar Khan, The Associated Press