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Pakistani authorities reinforce river defences

Authorities piled stones and sandbags to strengthen embankments protecting a city from rising waters in Pakistan today as the floods moved slowly south after leaving thousands of square kilometres of destruction in their wake.

The disaster has left about six million people homeless from the mountainous north to the plains in the south, where the floods are expected to drain into the Arabian Ocean in the coming days and weeks.

The latest town under threat from the Indus River is Shadad Kot in southern Sindh province. On the eastern side of the city the embankment was under pressure from 3m high waters, said Yaseen Shar, the top administrative official there.

“We are fighting this constant threat by filling the breaches with stones and sand bags but it is a very challenging task,” he said.

Most of the city’s 350,000 people have moved to relief camps or to towns and cities away from the danger.

Local charities, the Pakistani army and international agencies are providing food, water, medicine and shelter to the displaced, but millions have received little or help. Aid officials warn that waterborne diseases like cholera now pose a real threat.

On Sunday, the government said the world has given or pledged more than £500 million of aid to the country.

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