The Pakistan Army, along with the civil administration and private rescue services, on Sunday continued rescue and relief operations in various parts of Sindh's Dadu district after the most recent monsoon spell in the province breached the flood protection bund of Nai Gaj Dam.
In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said: "Pakistan Army troops busy in relief and rescue efforts in various areas of Dadu to help people affected by recent hill torrent and breach of flood protection bund of Nai Gaj Dam.
"Army Engineer boats are rescuing stranded people to safer places. Medical camp established and providing necessary medical care. Hot meals being served to affected people," the statement said.
A day earlier, the ISPR had said that recent rains and hill torrents had caused damage to Nai Gaj Dam and caused a breach in the flood protection bund.
"Twelve villages of Dadu district badly affected due to hill torrent and breach of bund. Army troops Including Army Engineer motor boats and Army medical teams reached affected areas for rescue and relief efforts for stranded people in distress in Dadu," the statement said.
On Sunday, the civil administration, including Hyderabad Divisional Commissioner Abbas Baloch, Dadu Deputy Commissioner Raja Shahzaman Khuhro, and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) were also busy overseeing rescue and relief operations.
Multiple breaches developed in the flood protection bund on Saturday evening which triggered flooding in at least 200 villages in Johi taluka. Some residents were feared dead and many spent the night under the open sky after being rendered homeless.
Four breaches — one major and three minor — had caused flooding in Dadu district's Johi taluka, affecting the several hundred people residing in 200 villages. The breaches were caused by a hill torrent that overflowed due to heavy rainfall during the past few days at the catchment area in Balochistan.
“One helicopter of the Pakistan Army is also busy rescuing marooned villagers in Johi”, said the Hyderabad commissioner.
Around 200 villages located in 10 union councils of Johi taluka were mainly affected by the flooding, said the divisional commissioner, adding that the water was taking its natural course so far and the water level was dropping at Haji Mori bridge where it was being gauged.
Villages in union councils Pat Gul Mohammad, Drig Bala, Wahi Pandhi, Rahim Khan, Sawaro, Chhinni and Kamal Khan were badly affected.
“People have lost their livestock and the summer cotton crop," said local journalist Wafa Birahamani from Johi. He claimed that all roads and communication networks in Johi taluka had been affected due to the flooding. “We have seen this for the first time”, he said.
Speaking to Dawn.com, PDMA Director General Salman Shah said that six boats of the authority and four each of the Army and the Navy were being used to evacuate the stranded villagers.
"A relief operation will also be launched and food will be supplied tonight, Initially, the food was arranged locally, but the PDMA will try its best to provide food to all those affected," he said.
Water from Nai Gaj Dam will ultimately flow into Manchhar Lake, which is Pakistan's largest freshwater lake. The lake is located towards the left of the flood protection bund and also receives water from Indus River.
Senior irrigation officer Mansoor Memon, who is supervising the situation at the flood protection bund, confirmed that the water level in the lake had increased due to the flooding. "Currently, the lake's level is 112 feet, after increasing by three more feet," he said, adding that 114 feet was the safe limit.
He added that all the water would end up in the lake.
Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Irshad Ali Memon said that the biggest breach at the flood protection bund was around 100 feet at RD75, while the remaining three were at RD-40, RD42 and RD50. "The bigger breach is being plugged," he said, adding that all the breaches were facing Johi taluka.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, along with irrigation minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and other officials visited Johi on Sunday and reviewed progress on work being carried out at the flood protection bund.
The chief minister held officials from the irrigation department responsible for the negligence, saying they should have fortified the embankments in view of the anticipated rainfall. He maintained that he had served as the irrigation minister and such arrangements should have been put in place.
He directed officials to provide immediate relief to those affected and directed that they be evacuated as soon as possible.