Panicked Manchhar Lake villagers flee as water level rises

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Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Thousands of villagers near Manchhar Lake on Monday started migrating to safer places including Sehwan, Jamshoro, Kotri, Keenjhar and others amid fears of flooding as water level continued to rise despite the cut was made in the country’s largest lake yesterday.

Officials are working hard to keep the country’s largest lake from overflowing and flooding nearby towns and villages. This is because the flooding was the worst it has ever been. Monday, the agency in charge of dealing with disasters announced that 24 more people had died because of the flooding.

People who left the lake went to nearby villages in the Union Councils of Bobak and Arazi, but now water has gotten into both of them.

Mustafa Meerani, who lives near the lake, said that the water level is slowly rising, which means that the Indus Highway will also be flooded. “Right now, things look very bad. Fear prevails among some villagers, “he said.

People who wanted to go from Hyderabad to Sehwan, Dhan, Dadu, or Kakkar were afraid because the Indus Highway was closed and flooded.

At least 10 km before Sehwan, people on both sides of the Indus Highway could see the water clearly.

On the right side of the road from Hyderabad to Sehwan, the water level of the Indus River has risen close to the road, flooding nearby villages. All of the areas on the left side have been flooded by water from Manchhar Lake.

Thousands of people have come to Sehwan, which is where the first villagers who had to leave their homes went.

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) said that floods have killed at least 1,314, including 458 children. The floods have affected 33 million of people. Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in the northern mountains of the country led to the floods.

Floods happened after a summer with record-high temperatures. Both the government and the UN said that the extreme weather and the damage it caused were caused by climate change.

The government broke into the country’s largest freshwater lake, Manchhar, on Sunday. This forced up to 100,000 people to leave their homes. The goal was to get enough water out of the lake so that it wouldn’t overflow and flood more populated areas.

But the water in Sindh’s Manchhar Lake, which is west of the Indus River, is still dangerously high.

The irrigation minister for the province, Jam Khan Shoro, told Reuters that the water level in Manchar Lake has not dropped.

He wouldn’t say if they would try to drain the lake again or not.

The UN has asked for $160 million to help flood victims, but Finance Minister Miftah Ismail says the damage is much more expensive.

Ismail told CNBC in an earlier interview, “The total damage is close to $10 billion, and it could be even more.” “That’s not enough, of course. Pakistan will have to do a lot of hard work, even though it has few resources.

Still, people from other countries are helping. In a statement, the foreign ministry said that aid flights from the United Nations and other countries, such as Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates, had arrived on Monday.

On Sunday, while visiting Manchar Lake, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that a decision had to be made because strong winds on Saturday night had started to push water over the lake’s levees.

“These five UCs [Jaffarabad, Talti, Channa, Aarazi, and Bubak] will get water,” the chief minister said, referring to the floods that came from parts of Balochistan and Larkana division and made Manchhar dangerously high.

People were afraid that Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad would be flooded if the water didn’t go to those UCs. When the lake filled up near Bubak, the bank near Bagh Yusuf was cut.

It was thought that more than 125,000 people lived in the five UCs as a whole, but only about 300,000 people live in Sehwan. About 50,000 to 60,000 people had already left their homes by Sunday evening.