Pakistani officials have urged anyone left in three southern towns to evacuate immediately as water broke through an embankment, endangering areas previously untouched by the country’s flooding disaster.
The swollen Indus River broke through the Sur Jani embankment in southern Sindh province late yesterday, threatening the towns of Sujawal, Daro and Mir Pur Batoro, said Mansoor Sheikh, a government official in Thatta district.
Most of the 400,000 people who live in the area are thought to have evacuated already, but those remaining were warned to flee, he said.
The floods began almost a month ago with the onset of the monsoon and have ravaged a massive swathe of Pakistan, from the mountainous north through to its agricultural heartland.
More than eight million people are in need of emergency assistance, and the UK and the US have led nations in pledging hundreds of millions of pounds in aid.
The death toll in the floods stands around 1,500, but the disaster ranks as one of Pakistan’s worst because of the scale and massive economic damage, especially to the country’s vital agricultural sector.
The UN said earlier this week that 800,000 people are still cut off by the water and accessible only by air.
As floodwaters receded in the north, they continued to wreak havoc in the south as bloated rivers coursed through.
Pakistan’s senior meteorologist, Arif Mahmood, said today that high tides are preventing the Indus River from fully shedding excess water into the Arabian Sea.
“We hope these tides would fully subside after 48 hours,” he said.
The Pakistan government says about £515M in emergency aid from the international community has been committed or pledged so far, but there are concerns about how the money will be spent by the government, which has a reputation for inefficiency and corruption.