The death toll from gushing floods across Pakistan has reached 1,343, with 18 more fatalities reported in the past 24 hours, official statistics said on Tuesday.
Most of the fresh fatalities, 14, were reported from southern Sindh province, where a water spillover from Manchar Lake, the country’s largest freshwater lake, is posing a serious threat to at least five districts.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told reporters in the provincial capital Karachi on Tuesday that the spillover and breaches, which have already inundated vast swaths of land in Sehwan, Khairpur Nathan Shah, and Mehar towns, have posed a serious threat to the central districts of Dadu and Jamshoro, as well as the southern districts of Mirpur Khas, Badin and Sanghar.
The Indus River, one of Asia’s longest transboundary river at 3,180 kilometers (about 1,976 miles) and the country’s largest, is also in high flood and is not taking water from Manchar Lake, Shah said.
“We estimate that it will take another seven days for the Indus River to accept water from Manchar. Until then, these districts will certainly remain in danger,” he warned.
Already hit hard by massive rains and flash floods, the combined population of the five districts is over 5 million.
To meet the growing number of displacements across the province, he added that at least one million tents are required.
Manchar Lake, located west of the mighty Indus River in the southern districts of Dadu and Jamshoro and spreading over 250 square kilometers (about 97 square miles), has been experiencing high floods due to massive inflows from the Indus River and hill torrents from the Kirthar mountain range.
Also considered one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes with an average depth of 2.5 to 3.75 meters, the lake can expand to 500 square kilometers during the peak monsoon season.
With the latest casualties, the overall tally in the province has reached 536 since mid-June.
A total of 290 people have died in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province since June 14, followed by 260 fatalities in Balochistan province, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Whereas 191 people have died in the northeastern Punjab province, the authority said.
A total of 12,720 people have been injured in rain and flood-related incidents across the country since June 14.
Flooding from unprecedented rains has inundated one-third of the country, prompting the government to issue an international appeal.
Constant rains and raging floods have already destroyed a large chunk of the country’s infrastructure and agricultural land, including hundreds of thousands of houses, roads, and bridges, as well as washing away over 750,000 animals.
Almost 45% of the cropland has already been inundated by the floods, posing a serious threat to food security and adding further to already skyrocketing inflation.
Source: Anadolu Agency