Manchhar breached again to ease pressure

Lake given cuts at RD50, RD52 after flood level reaches 126 RL


Z Ali September 05, 2022
A flood victim family take refuge with their belongings as floodwater rises, following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Sohbatpur. PHOTO: REUTERS

HYDERABAD:

The embankments of the overflowing Manchhar Lake near Sehwan, Jamshoro district, were given two more cuts on Monday as the single breach given a day ago failed to reduce the water pressure.

The flood level at the lake, which is spread over 200 square kilometres, reportedly shot up to 126 reduced level (RL) after which the irrigation authorities decided to break open the lake from reduced distance (RD) 50 and 52. A day ago, the cut was given at RD14.

The spilling water entered and drowned five union councils (UCs), Jaffarabad, Talti, Channa, Aarazi and Bubak. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s village Wahar and Sehwan airport also became exposed to the flooding water.

On Saturday, Manchhar deluged Jhangara and Bajara rural towns, one of which is the birthplace of the chief minister’s late father, Syed Abdullah Shah, who also served as the chief executive of the province in the past.

Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro told the media that the fresh cuts will lower the pressure from the ring embankments of Mehar and Dadu, besides reducing the water level from flooded KN Shah taluka.

Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Captain (retd) Farid-ud-Din Mustafa issued an alert, asking citizens to leave their homes. More than 125,000 people will be affected by the breaches, according to Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon.

Meanwhile, the flood level surrounding the ring embankments of the Johi and Mehar towns of Dadu district further increased on Monday.

In Johi, the police forced the hotels to close and asked the people to rush to volunteer in the exercise of reinforcement. The embankment’s height was thus increased by four to five feet above ground level.

The residents of Johi also made announcements through microphones, urging fellow citizens to help reinforce the embankment. Men, women and children in Mehar taluka also continued their efforts to protect their town by strengthening the ring embankment.

“This is our last line of defence,” Aftab Ring, a local resident said. “If we as citizens collectively fail to strengthen the embankment, we cannot blame anyone else for our troubles.”

According to the provincial government and the irrigation offices, the flood situation at Manchhar is expected to last for at least eight to 10 days. The lake’s water will be released to the Indus River in a higher quantity only after the reduction of the flood level in the river.

Death toll rises

Meanwhile, the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) revealed on Monday that at least l24 more people died and 115 were injured due to flash floods in the last 24 hours.

The deaths raised Pakistan's overall death toll due to floods to 1,314, and the total number of people injured to 12,703.

Armed forces' relief efforts

Separately, in a statement released by the NFRCC, the army's relief and rescue efforts for the flood victims were underway. So far, 147 relief camps and 284 donation centres had been established across the country for the collection and distribution of relief items to flood victims.

A total of 3,570 tons of food items, 463 tons of sustenance items and 1.7 million medicinal items had been collected through donations. However, out of these, a total of 3,021 tons of food items, 407 tons of sustenance items and 1.4 million medicinal items had been distributed.

Moreover, 232,811 ration packs alongside 1,617 tons of ration had been distributed by the Pakistan Army.

More than 250 medical camps had been established across the country, in which more than 93,000 patients had been treated and provided with three to five days of medicine, the NFRCC stated.

Furthermore, 338 army aviation helicopter sorties were flown to various areas to rescue stranded people. In the past 24 hours, 31 helicopter sorties were used to rescue 483 stranded individuals and deliver 41 tons of relief items to flood victims. A total of 3,585 stranded people had been rescued using these helicopter sorties.

The Pakistan Navy also conducted 38 helicopter sorties, rescued 10,956 people, provided 807 families with shelter, distributed 980 tons of rations and 300kg of medicines as well as treated 23,544 patients across the country.

Moreover, the Pakistan Air Force conducted 152 air sorties, through which it rescued 1,521 people and distributed 2,763 tents, more than 100,000 food packets and 1,280 tons of rations.

The air force also established 16 tent cities, 41 relief camps and 35 free medical camps in which 27,156 patients had been treated.

The NFRCC further stated that the construction of the Saggu bridge at N-95 in Dera Ismail Khan was in progress. The abutments had been completed and reached the bridge construction site.

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