n NFRCC declares 80 districts calamity-hit across Pakistan n Death toll reaches 1,290 with 26 more flood-related casualties n Over 33m people affected by flash floods as relief and restoration work continues.


ISLAMABAD/KARACHI    -   As the water level reached alarming level in Sindh’s Manchhar Lake due to the heavy water inflow, a dyke of the reservoir was breached yesterday to release the water pressure and save the nearby populated areas of five union councils of Jamshoro district from further damages.

The released water will eventually reach River Indus, which is already in high flood, the peak of which has passed through Sukkur Barrage.

Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Capt (retd) Fariduddin Mustafa has already issued evacuation orders for the people of the five UCs, saying that they should move out to safer places.

The Sehwan Airport, an installation of an oil company as well as Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s home village, are located in the five Union Councils of Bubak, Aarazi, Wahar, Jaffarabad and Channa.

“The next 24 to 48 hours are crucial for the Manchar Lake,” the deputy commissioner said, adding that there is pressure on the lake’s dykes from reduced level 54 to 58.

According to Irrigation Special Secretary Jamal Mangan, the cut was located at reduced level-14 Yusuf Bagh, describing the move as a “relief cut”.

According to the Sindh Irrigation Department, after the breach, the water will enter Indus River by passing through Kiranpur village and Indus Link and will reduce the pressure of water entering the lake by 30 percent.

Meanwhile, Sindh Information Sharjeel Inam Memon told the media that the embankment cut was made on experts’ advice to save the district’s Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad towns.

“It was a difficult decision but it had to be taken,” he said. The minister said that approximately 125,000 people in the five union councils would be affected by the water released through this cut.

Speaking to journalists in Sehwan, Shah Chief Minister also said the controlled cut was made to divert water from Sehwan and to ease pressure on the lake.

“Even my house in Bajara has been inundated after floods entered my village earlier where my father was born and now my second village will be inundated by water flowing in the wake of this controlled cut,” he added.

He said that Sehwan city was being protected and work would be done at Indus Link to save Bhan Saeedabad.

On the other hand, pressure increased on ring embankments raised to protect Johi and Mehar cities from flooding. Residents were dumping stones and other flood-fighting materials to reinforce the dykes.

Matiari city and the National Highway are feared to be submerged as the gate of Chandan branch at Rohri Canal could not be repaired despite the passage of several hours.

Meanwhile, the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) has declared as many as eighty districts across the country.

The data issued by the NFRCC on Sunday mentioned that these districts include 31 in Balochistan, six in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), 17 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), three in Punjab and 23 in Sindh, while Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) remains almost safe.

Moreover, it maintained that 33,046,329 people have been affected by flash floods in Pakistan. Of this affected population, 9,182,616 are in Balochistan, 51,500 in G-B, 4,350,490 in K-P, 4,844,253 in Punjab, 14,563,770 in Sindh and 53,700 in AJK.

According to the centre, there are 29 teams conducting a survey of damage assessment in the flood-affected areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, Pashin and Chaman. In the statement, the NFRCC informed that from June 14 till Sunday, 1,290 people have died, including 570 men, 259 women and 453 children. In the last 24 hours alone, 26 people have lost their lives and 11 injured across the country due to flash floods, it added.

Since June, the floods have disrupted roads and railway networks all over the country. In Balochistan, the M-8 motorway experienced landsliding in a 24km section of Wangu hills. In K-P, the N-50 has been opened for traffic except for the broken section of the Sagu bridge, restoration work for which is currently underway, while the N-95 is blocked between Bahrain and Laikot. In Sindh, the N-55 road is closed from Meher Johi Canal to Khairpur Nathan Shah as it is submerged in water.

Moreover, railway networks affected by the floods include the Quetta to Taftan route in Balochistan, the Balochistan-Sindh line from Quetta to Sibbi to Habibkot, the Punjab-Sindh line from Hyderabad to Rohri to Multan and the Kotri to Lakhi Shah to Dadu route in Sindh. The Karakoram Highway (KKH) has been opened for light traffic after the restoration of the last portion of the road at Zaid Khar, which has now been cleared.

According to the NFRCC, it will take time for the road to be able to carry heavy traffic. However, light traffic vehicles have been allowed on the Babusar route for the transportation of fuel and essential commodities in G-B.

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) is assessing the restoration of two-way traffic of heavy traffic vehicles along with the National Highway Authority (NHA).

Although the KKH is open for traffic, limitations have been imposed. Route from Thakot to Kayal Bridge is open both ways for all types of traffic. Kayal Bridge is open one-way for light and medium vehicles. Zaid Khar is open one-way for light and medium vehicles. Uchaar Nullah is open both ways for all types of traffic (through diversion). Sommer Nullah Bridge is open both ways for light traffic. Route from Sazin to Khunjrab is open both ways for all types of traffic.

Commuters and cargo drivers are advised to drive with extreme caution while crossing the Uchhar Nullah, Kayal Bridge and Zaid Khwar areas. The FWO teams are working round the clock for the restoration of heavy traffic throughout the length of the KKH, said the NFRCC.

The NFRCC said that as many as 307 army aviation helicopters sorties have been flown to various areas across the country for evacuation of stranded people thus far.

As many as 3,147 stranded individuals have been evacuated through these helicopter sorties including 479 evacuated during the last 24 hours through 31 sorties.