Areas in the vicinity of Sindh’s Manchhar Lake were reeling from flooding on Tuesday even as the water level in the country’s largest lake marginally declined after rising persistently for days.
“The water level in the lake has dropped by a decimal point overnight to 123.2-foot reduced level,” an engineer of the provincial irrigation department, Mahesh Kumar told Dawn.com.
The reduced level of 124ft is described as dangerous.
Meanwhile, an update on the Flood Forecasting Division’s website showed that there was a high-level flood in the Indus River at Kotri.
Manchhar lake has been witnessing a surge in its water level in recent days as floodwaters from the north and hill torrents from Balochistan flow southwards to converge in Sindh, leaving behind a trail of deaths and destruction.
So far, rain-induced floods have claimed a total of 1,325 lives across the country since June 14, with 11 deaths reported during the last 24 hours, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.
Earlier, authorities had breached the lake’s dyke at two locations, in a bid to save the densely populated cities of Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad from flooding by diverting water to less populated areas.
Subsequently, the flooding in the five union councils of Sehwan — Jafferabad, Bubak, Wahur, Channa and Arazi — aggravated.
The reports of flooding began coming on Monday, with the first breach having been made on Sunday.
Dawn reported that the runway at Sehwan’s Shahbaz Airport was under a foot of water while the Pak-Arab refinery located in the area was also inundated.
Meanwhile, there were also reports of over 100 villages in Sehwan’s five affected UCs experiencing worsening floods, which compelled residents to evacuate.
Sardar Sikandar Rahopoto, an MNA from Sehwan, told Dawn.com on Tuesday that a population of around 150,000 was affected due to breaches on Manchhar’s dyke and most of the affected families and individuals had been evacuated.
Separately, Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Fariduddin Mustafa said residents affected by floods were being provided rations, cooked meals and other facilities.
Also on Tuesday, around five people were swept away by raging waters and later rescued after water burst through at the Main Nara Valley Drain, the Dawn.com correspondent present at the site said.
He said the five individuals were on motorcycles and passing by the drain when the path they were on collapsed and they fell in the raging waters.
Impending health crisis
Pakistan is struggling to respond to the floods given their unprecedented magnitude. The government has said 33 million people — 15pc of its population — have been affected.
The United Nations has appealed for $160 million in aid to help tackle what it said was an “unprecedented climate catastrophe” and nations had been extending financial and moral support with promises for more.
Meanwhile, large-scale displacements and countries limited resources have led to fears of an impending health crisis.
According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 900 health facilities have been damaged due to floods in the country, 180 of them completely destroyed.
And with stagnant water everywhere preventing people from observing even a modicum of hygiene practices, stomach ailments and skin infections have become rampant.
According to the Sindh government, in August alone nearly 200,000 cases of acute watery diarrhoea and dysentery had been reported among children in flood-affected areas.
Given the state of affairs, Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said on Sunday that over 1,200 medical relief camps would be set up in more than 20 flood-hit districts this month to provide medical assistance to affected citizens.
Additional input from Reuters