Dadu’s Mehar submerged in floodwater

DADU (Agencies): The water level in the Manchhar Lake — one of the largest freshwater reserves in Pakistan — receded to some extent on Wednesday while efforts continued to protect ring embankments raised to protect Mehar town from further deluge.
Manchhar Lake has been the main source of the threat, compelling authorities to breach its protective dykes and other structures along its paths in an attempt to divert the flow of water towards less populated areas and prevent flooding in densely populated regions.
Mehar Assistant Commissioner, Mohsin Sheikh, told media that around 10 to 12 feet of water was still stagnant in the surroundings of Mehar town located in Sindh’s Dadu district. “The water level will decrease gradually and we are trying to strengthen dykes to protect them from breaching or damage, he added. He said the government was more focused on providing relief goods to affected people in flood-hit areas.
Separately, an official in charge of the irrigation cell for the lake, Sher Mohammad Mallah, told media that the water level in Manchhar had reduced to 122.2 feet from 122.5 feet — against the full capacity level of 122.8 feet — as the water was now flowing directly into Indus River through the Larkana-Sehwan (LS) bund. Mallah said the water level at Dadu-Moro bridge had also witnessed a slight decrease.
Irrigation engineer Mahesh Kumar told media that the water level had witnessed a reduction of one foot in the Indus Canal at Bhan Syedabad and surrounding areas. However, he added that 10-feet-deep water was still stagnant at Mehar’s ring bund. MNA Sardar Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto said the situation at the ring bund in Dadu was deteriorating due to gusty winds and tides generated in its wake on Tuesday night. But by Wednesday morning, it had returned to normal. Rahoupoto said that at least 150 villages have been submerged with floodwater in Bhan Syedabad and its surrounding areas. He said efforts were afoot to protect the city in Sehwan tehsil as floodwater in the area was yet to recede. “Machinery is employed in Saeedabad and the work is going on continuously to protect Bhan Syedabad from further inundation.”
Rahoupoto, who had been elected from the area’s NA-233 constituency, said at least seven union councils were flooded in Sehwan tehsil while rescue work was underway. Sehwan Assistant Commissioner Iqbal Hussain said the locals had been shifted to safer places due to the stagnation of floodwater in villages.
Meanwhile, at least 315 villages in union councils Muradabad, Khudabad and Yaar Muhammad Kalhoro of Dadu have been inundated with floodwater. Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali Shah said several areas of the city district were still flooded, adding measures were underway to prevent water from entering the main city.
MPA Pir Mujeebul Haq, elected from Dadu’s PS-74 constituency, told media said authorities were working at Main Nara Valley Drain — also called Right Bank Outfall Drain-I — to strengthen its protective embankments. Locals said the water had receded up to one foot at different places from Dadu, Mehar, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi, but the threat remained.
Floods from record monsoon rains and glacial melt in the mountainous north have affected 33 million people and killed almost 1,400, washing away homes, roads, railways, livestock and crops, in damages estimated at $30 billion. Both the government and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres have blamed climate change for the extreme weather that led to the flooding, which submerged nearly a third of the country.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that there was seven to eight million acre-feet of water from Kashmore and Jacobabad to Jamshoro. “We have to release it to River Indus through Manchar Lake,” he told a press conference in Karachi today. He added that the lake also had 1.3m acre-feet of water.
He said 175,000 cusecs of water went to the river only yesterday (Tuesday) through cuts made by the local administration to prevent several towns and villages from inundation. The provincial chief executive insisted that there was a process of taking out the water, adding whatever was humanly possible was done by the authorities. “We received 800pc more rains in Sindh causing the kind of devastation we all are witnessing,” Shah said. He maintained that there was a reduction in the water level everywhere in the Right Bank Outfall Drain and the river was becoming “more favourable”. We have opened some canals and barrages strategically to control water flow, he added.
He told journalists that the provincial administration took decisions in consultation with the army teams. Talking about relief measures, the chief minister said the Provincial Disaster Management Authority had so far delivered around 200,000 tents against the requirement of 2 million tents in flood-hit areas. He continued that 146,060 tarpaulins and 316,000 ration bags were also distributed among the affectees.
“The outcry of people [who haven’t received the aid] is justified and the government is taking all-out measures to address their plights,” he said.
Meanwhile. Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab tweeted a flood update, saying the discharge at Kotri downstream had come down to 487,312 cusecs. “This discharge was 600,018 cusecs on Sep 11, while water at Manchar Lake had also come down to 122.10RL which was at 123.30RL on Sep 5.” He also posted the latest video of the lake’s Aral Tail, showing the quantum of water flowing into River Indus. “Despite the unprecedented situation, the administration has tried it best to address issues,” Wahab said.