A day after the water level in Sindh’s Manchhar Lake rose to a “dangerous level”, a cut was made in the water body’s dyke on Sunday to release pressure.
Irrigation Special Secretary Jamal Mangan said that the cut was located at RD-14 Yusuf Bagh, describing the move as a “relief cut”.
Speaking to Dawn.com over the phone, the official, however, was unable to give an estimate about the cut’s size, saying that he had not yet visited the site.
Engineer at Mancharr Lake, Mahesh Kumar, also confirmed the development and the location of the cut, saying it was done so because the water level in the lake had begun advancing towards populated areas.
The water that will be released from the lake at RD-14 will eventually reach River Indus, which is already in high flood, the peak of which has passed through Sukkur Barrage. Irrigation officials now hope that the river will start accepting water from the lake.
Officials decided to make the cut due to the critical condition of the lake’s dyke since last evening.
“There is strong wave-wash action triggered by strong winds,” said Superintending Engineer Mukhtar Abro.
Meanwhile, a fisherman Hyder said that the cut at RA-14 was “small in size”, saying the water would enter the river once the flow recedes. He said the cut was given near Arzi Goth and it would reach somewhere near Sehwan.
Sindh Information Sharjeel Inam Memon told journalists that the cut in the embankment was made on the advice of experts in order to save the towns of Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad towns of the district.
“It was a difficult decision [but] it had to be taken,” he said. The minister said that approximately 125,000 people in five union councils would be affected by the water released through this cut.
He said government had taken steps to ensure citizens were shifted to safer places. He disclosed that Sindh chief minister had reached Sehwan as well.
Another 26 perish
Meanwhile, another 26 people died in the flooding, taking the total number of casualties since June 14 to 1,290. According to the update shared by the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC), 11 others were also injured during the last 24 hours.
The centre also said that a total of 80 districts had been declared calamity-hit, including 31 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, 17 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Gilgit-Baltistan and three in Punjab.
In a separate update, the NFRCC said that the Karakoram Highway (KKH) had been opened for light traffic after restoration at Zaid Khar.
“It will take some time for heavy traffic, however, transportation on light traffic including Babusar route is being used for fuel and essential commodities in GB as of now.” It added that Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) teams were working round the clock to restore heavy traffic throughout the length of KKH.
More rain expected
On Saturday, the Met Office predicted that upper regions of the country may receive thundershowers for the next three to four days, though Sindh, Balochistan and south Punjab are expected to experience hot and humid weather during these days.
According to the Met Office, weak monsoon currents from the Arabian Sea were penetrating upper and central parts of the country.
Under the influence of this weather system, rain-wind/thundershower (with isolated heavy falls) is expected in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Murree, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Sialkot, Narowal, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sheikhupura, Mianwali, Khushab, Sargodha, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Jhang and Faisalabad from Saturday night to Tuesday.
It further said rain-wind/thundershower (with isolated heavy falls) is also expected in Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, Malakand, Bajaur, Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi, Nowshera, Kurram, Kohat and Waziristan on Sunday (today) and Monday.