Pakistan floods’ death toll nears 1,500

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: The death toll due to devastating monsoon floods across the country on Thursday surged amid property losses as five more perished in the past 24 hours, taking the total death count to 1,486. Moreover, 12,749 individuals were reported injured since the onset of the rainy season.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued a 24-hour situation report released on routine basis that accounted overall life, property and infrastructure losses due to the heavy rains which lashed out various parts of the country. The heavy rains and flash floods caused deaths in various flood affected areas. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan reconciled its data on deaths mentioning mortality number counted in incidents on September 9. It noted that one man, woman and child in Killa Saifullah.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), a man and child were reported dead and a man injured in Kurram District. There was no incident or loss to report in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Punjab, Sindh and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) during the last 24 hours.
The massive torrential rains in the past 24 hours have damaged 300 kilometers (km) roads in Balochistan whereas 10,336 livestock animal died whereas 5,091 houses got damaged during heavy downpour incidents including 2,166 fully damaged and 2,925 got partially damaged during rains. However the cumulative damages so far stated that almost 12,718 km road, 390 bridges and 1,760,372 houses and 918,473 livestock animals got damaged due to the heavy rains in various districts of all the provinces including that of Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
The NDMA report highlighted that 81 districts across the country were notified as calamity hit areas with some 33,046,329 people affected, 179,281individuals rescued in various rescue operations and 546,288 people inhabited in camps. The joint surveys for damage assessment were started in 30 districts of Balochistan and some 32 teams were deployed for the survey that was likely to be completed by September 25.
In GB, four teams were deployed in the region that started the survey from September 12 and was expected to complete by September 20. In Punjab, three survey teams were deployed in the field that initiated the survey from September 12 and was expected to complete by September 30. In KP, some six teams were on the ground to initiate the survey that commenced on September 15 and would be completed by October 15. In Sindh, the survey would commence as soon as practically possible and was expected to commence from September 25.
Meanwhile, the water level in the Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD), commonly known as Right Bank Outfall Drain-I, at RD-10 upstream Manchhar Lake, started to decrease on Thursday as officials confirmed the intensity of floodwater also subsided to some extent in Dadu district.
However, they would not take any chances and said they would maintain a strict vigil on the drain to stave off any emergency. Floods from record monsoon rains and glacial melt in the mountainous north have affected 33 million people and killed 1,486 since June 14, washing away homes, roads, railways, livestock and crops, in damage 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 has been particularly hit hard, with the province’s Manchhar Lake — the largest freshwater lake in the country — witnessing a surge in its water level in recent days as floodwaters from the north and hill torrents from Balochistan flow southwards, leaving behind a trail of deaths and destruction. Hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless by flooding in Sindh, with many sleeping by the side of elevated highways to protect themselves from the water.
“We have been buying tents from all the manufacturers available in Pakistan,” Sindh’s chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said in a statement on Thursday. Still, one-third of the homeless in Sindh don’t even have a tent to protect them from the elements, he said. Over the last few weeks, authorities have built barriers to keep the flood waters out of key structures such as power stations and homes, while farmers who stayed to try and save their cattle have faced a new threat as fodder has begun to run out.
Dadu Assistant Commissioner Shahnawaz Mirani told media that at least one foot had decreased at different places of the MNV drain. He said the water level in various villages in Dadu was also decreasing with each passing day for now. Separately, Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali Shah said the discharge of water from the MNV drain into the Manchhar Lake was continuing and expressed hopes the the water level would further decrease in the days to come. The DC said the locals and the civil administration were constantly monitoring the MNV drain so as to deal with any emergency. According to the official in charge of the irrigation cell for Manchhar Lake, Sher Mohammad Mallah, water was being released from the lake into River Indus through the LS Dam.
“The water level in Manchhar has decreased from 121.9 feet RL to 121.7 feet RL.” An engineer of the provincial irrigation department, Mahesh Kumar, told media the water pressure was also easing on the ring bund of Bhan Syedabad. Mehar Assistant Commissioner Mohsin Shaikh told media that the water level at the ring bund of Mehar had decreased by a foot. He said a similar decrease had also been witnessed in the surroundings of Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi areas. Sheikh, however, said the relief and rescue works were still under way in Dadu district. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had on Wednesday 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 Manchhar Lake,” he told a press conference in Karachi today. He added that the lake also had 1.3m acre-feet of water. Meanwhile, the situation of the water flow at Guddu and Sukkur barrages in the Indus River is normal. According to a Flood Forecasting Division report, the Inflow of water at the Guddu Barrage is 166,431 cusecs and the discharge is 153,656 cusecs. Similarly, at Kotri Barrage, the inflow of water is 155,948 cusecs and the outflow is 153,810 cusecs. The officials said a moderate flood situation at Kotri Barrage was still persisting.