HYDERABAD/DADU   -   Sindh Minister for In­formation and focal per­son for rain emergency Sharjeel Inam Memon said Wednesday that at least 601 people died in rains and floods in Sindh while more than 0.5 million houses were completely destroyed.

Addressing a press conference here at Shahbaz Hall, Sharjeel Memon said that there was an emergency situ­ation across the country due to rains and floods and millions people have become homeless. He said that 11,558 people have been injured in the flood in Sindh while a total of 1,687,659 houses have been affected. As many as 941 talu­kas and 1104 union councils of the province have been affect­ed in the most devastating rains and floods in the country’s his­tory, while 47072 cattles were perished, Sharjeel Memon said and informed that Sindh Gov­ernment had so far established 2031 relief camps across the province for the flood victims.

The minister said that at pres­ent Kotri barrage was currently flowing with the highest level of 640127 cusecs water, while the water level in Manchar Lake is at its highest peak of 123 RL.

He said that relief activities are going on throughout the province and till now 140620 tents and 923255 mosqui­to nets have been distributed among the victims.

Sharjeel also requested the Relief Organisations to keep in touch with the provincial di­saster management authority (PDMA) do that they could be provided full security during the distribution of relief items.

He said that rehabilitation work is being started where the water level is receding, adding that those who are safe should actively participate in helping their affected brothers.

He said that 30 union coun­cils of Hyderabad Rural taluka are surrounded by water while dewatering work has been com­pleted in some villages and peo­ple are being sent back there.

Memon said that dengue fe­ver cases are increasing in ur­ban areas after floods and rains, so people should take precautionary measures. He said that the government was utilising all its resources to re­habilitate the flood victims and will not leave the people alone in this time of need.

The provincial information minister said that these rains are the biggest disaster of the century, which has destroyed the agricultural sector through­out the province, while cotton and vegetables have been com­pletely destroyed. He said that the data of the losses has been shared with the federal govern­ment and Rs 25000 per fami­ly is being given to the victims through BISP.

‘WE ARE GOING TO DROWN’

“There is too much water. We are going to drown.” That was the warning from the villagers of Sehta Sehanj, where flooding caused by the overflow of the country’s largest lake has left many residents trapped by ris­ing water levels and fearing for their lives.

Lake Manchar -- which has swelled to an area hundreds of square kilometers wide due to the combined effects of a heavy monsoon and melting glaciers -- breached its banks for what was at least the third time on Tues­day, leaving nearby villages un­der several feet of water.

Murad Ali Shah, the chief min­ister of Sindh, said Wednesday he did not want the lake to over­flow but if authorities had not diverted the water, cities up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the lake -- such as Sehwan, Dadu and Mehar -- would have been put in danger.

While those areas have been spared, at least for now, villag­es nearby are bearing the brunt.

“(Our) village is submerged. There is no way to go (to it),” said Noor Mohammad Thebo, who spoke to CNN on a road­side as rapidly flowing water swirled around his ankles. The­bo said 10 to 15 families had been cut off by the rising waters in his village near the lake and that water up to 1.5 meters (five feet) deep now covered its main access road -- making any res­cue efforts a dangerous affair.

“There are no rescue teams that could help (the trapped families) and there is no way for (the families) to come out,” The­bo said. In Bachal Chana, an­other nearby village, resident Yar Mohammad said people had been caught completely off guard when overflowing water from Lake Manchar rushed in.

“It destroyed our crops and houses. The breach took place suddenly and we were unaware (it was about to happen.) No one had informed us,” said Yar Mohammad, standing knee-deep in murky water.

Around him, cattle were al­most completely submerged, with only their heads peaking through and gasping for air

Water levels in Pakistan’s big­gest lake are starting to recede, officials say, after last-ditch at­tempts to prevent it from burst­ing its banks. “We see the wa­ter is now starting to come down,” provincial minister Jam Khan Shoro told the BBC. “If we didn’t make the breaches, sev­eral towns with big populations would have been destroyed and many more people in danger.”