Pakistan: Road race to prevent largest lake from overflowing

Pakistan is now in a race to widen the moat in the country's largest lake


Pakistan is racing today to widen a ditch at the country's largest lake to hold back its overflowing waters as it faces unprecedented floods that have submerged a third of its territory and a UN official warns of further deterioration of the situation.


Up to 33 million people have been affected in Pakistan and 1.325 people have died, including 466 children, in floods caused by record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern Pakistan, according to national agency officials. disaster management.

With more rain expected next month, the situation could worsen further, a senior official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned.

"We fear that the situation may worsen," said Indrika Ratuate, UNHCR's director for the Asia-Pacific region, adding that officials from Pakistan's meteorological service were predicting more rain next month.

"This will increase problems for flood survivors and will likely worsen conditions for nearly half a million displaced people, forcing more to leave their homes," he stressed.

A key source of concern is the Mansar freshwater lake in southern Sindh province, which is dangerously close to overflowing.

Already 100.000 people have been displaced from their homes as part of efforts to prevent the lake from overflowing, as authorities fear hundreds of thousands more could be affected.

UNHCR is working with Pakistani authorities to boost the delivery of humanitarian supplies if more people are displaced in the region, Ratuate added, while Pakistan's foreign ministry said three more flights of UN humanitarian aid had arrived in the country today.

"Until yesterday, the ditches in Johi and Mehar towns were under enormous pressure, but people are struggling to alleviate it by strengthening the ditches," district official Murtaza Shah said today, adding that 80 to 90 percent of the towns' residents already have leave the area.

Those who remain are trying to reinforce existing trenches with machinery provided by local officials.

The waters have turned the nearby town of Johi into a virtual island as a ditch dug by locals holds back the waters.

"After a breach in Mansar, the water started flowing, while earlier it was somewhat stagnant," Akbar Lasari, a resident of the town, said by phone after a first breach was caused on Sunday in the lake.

Rising water levels flooded the nearby Sichuan airport, according to civil aviation authorities.

The floods follow a summer of record high temperatures, with the government and the UN blaming the extreme weather and resulting disasters on climate change.

Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities today restored power to towns along the border with Afghanistan, where hundreds of thousands of people have struggled to get by without power for weeks.

Source: RES-EAP