Islamabad, Sep 4 (EFE).- Authorities in Pakistan breached the dike at the country’s largest lake on Sunday to protect two cities from an overflow of water, as the death toll following months of devastating floods rose to 1,300.
The alarming water levels reached at lake Manchar in the worst-hit southern province of Sindh on Saturday prompted the authorities to open the dam to direct the excess water into the Indus River.
Sindh’s information minister Sharjeel Memon said the measure was taken in a bid to protect the cities of Sehwan and Dadu. However, more than 125,000 people from other towns were affected by the breach and had to be evacuated in advance.
Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, who visited the affected areas in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Sunday, said there were 400 children among the fatalities of the climate-induced catastrophe that started in mid-June.
“Now they are (children) at even greater risk of water-borne diseases. UNICEF & other global agencies should help,” Sharif wrote on Twitter.
At least 700,000 people are suffering from water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea, malaria and dengue, in Sindh alone, according to the regional health ministry.
The floods are still far from, with more rain is expected for the next three days, the country’s Meteorological Department reported.
Earlier this week, the United Nations issued an appeal for a $160 million emergency plan to help Pakistan deal with the consequences of the floods, but the government estimates more than $10 billion in damages.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres is planning to travel to the country next week to show solidarity for the “tragic situation facing millions of men, women and children affected by historic floods.”
“He is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Friday, September 9, and travel to the areas most impacted by this unprecedented climate catastrophe,” the UN said in a statement.
So far, Pakistan has received 35 humanitarian flights loaded with aid for the victims of the floods, including 14 from the United Arab Emirates and 11 from Turkey. EFE