Disasters & Accidents

Pakistan authorities in race against time to save city from floodwater

Islamabad, Sep 12 (EFE).- The authorities in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh on Monday were racing against the clock to save the city of Dadu from rising floodwater that has surrounded the city after submerging several villages that left thousands of people displaced.

The local authorities have been taking measures to keep the rising water levels from inundating roads and highways and channel it into the Indus river and prevent it from entering Dadu city.

“The water is just 40 feet away from the Dadu city at one place,” Dadu’s assistant commissioner Shahnawaz Mirani told EFE, adding that the floodwater outside the city has been checked by a ring-dike which is still being reinforced.

“There is still risk to Dadu where we are already feeding more than 200,000 displaced people from different villages in the district,” he said.

The main power station in Dadu city, home to 700,000 people, is also at risk. The grid station supplies power to six provincial districts.

“If the floodwater enters the grid station it not only will cut power to six districts but will also disrupt power in whole country as it connects the main transmission line,” warned Mirani.

State-broadcaster Radio Pakistan reported that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered the authorities to make ensure that the 500kV power station is not flooded.

Mirani said troops with local administration have been strengthening a dike built in front of the station.

According to Mirani, the residents of Dadu are apprehensive of the city being inundated after the rising flood water submerged many more villages in the outskirts of the city on Monday.

“At some place the water is 12 feet high and at some it’s four feet high but not less than that at any place around the city,” said the local administrator who is also monitoring the situation.

According to local media reports, hundreds of displaced villagers took to the Indus Highway to stage a sit-in, and blamed the government for not making adequate arrangements for their timely evacuation.

“The government knew that all the villages surrounding Dadu city would go under water but they did not arrange for our evacuation,” said a protester on local broadcaster NewsOne.

The authorities have also breached country’s the dike of the country’s largest freshwater Manchar Lake at two locations in a bid to save the densely populated cities of Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad.

Being downstream on the Indus River, Sindh province has been the most-affected by the unprecedented rains and floods.

The current surge in water levels is the result of heavy rains in the country’s north which caused rivers to swell. The country’s limited dams and reservoirs are unable to check the downstream flows.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah conducted an aerial survey of Manchar Lake and the protective dikes on Monday.

The local authorities have underlined that although the water level in the lake is going down recently, the floodwater from different streams has been contributing to the plight at Dadu.

Given its location, all the floodwater passes through Dadu district, which has a population of 1.5 million people.

This year, Pakistan received 188 percent more rainfall than its 30-year average during the monsoon season from June to September, while Sindh received 466 percent more rain than average.

The government as well as the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who visited Pakistan from Sep.9-10, have blamed climate change for the unprecedented rains in the south Asian nation of 220 million people.

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