The water level in Dadu continued to rise on Friday as the overall death toll from the devastating floods, which have affected millions across the country, crossed 1,200.
The increase in water levels in Dadu is a consequence of a surge in the flow of water down River Indus, with monstrous floods leaving a trail of destruction in the country's northern regions.
Key developments today
- Water level in Sindh's Dadu continues to rise, gushes towards Manchhar Lake and Johi
- NDMA says 19 people died in the last 24 hours
- High level floods predicted in Indus River from Sep 4 to Sep 6
- Displaced residents in KP sent back home as the situation improves up north
- PM Shehbaz visits Giglit-Baltistan, announces Rs100 million aid for flood-affected families
- ISPR says over 2,000 stranded people evacuated across the country
- Turkish delegation arrives in Pakistan in an expression of solidarity
- British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner calls on COAS
- Unicef says it's scaling up relief efforts for affectees
Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains have triggered floods that have killed at least 1,208 people, including 416 children, and injured 6,082, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The latest NDMA report said 19 casualties were reported over the past 24 hours.
The devastation is now spreading southwards, with floodwater gushing towards Manchhar Lake and Johi in Dadu district on Friday, Alam Rahpoto, superintendent engineer at the Sindh Irrigation Department, told Dawn.com.
He said 10,000 to 15,000 cusecs was being discharged from Manchhar Lake into River Indus on Friday morning while 70,000 to 80,000 cusecs of water was flowing into the lake from the Main Nara Valley drain and FP Bund, a flood protective dyke.
"The water level in the lake is rising rapidly but all protective dykes are strong," the official said.
Meanwhile, he continued, there was a high-level flood in River Indus in Dadu district. "There is a high-level flood in the river at the Dadu-Moro bridge."
Separately, Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Shah told Dawn.com that relief and rescue efforts were under way in the area.
The Pakistan Army, Rangers and district administration are jointly carrying out the relief work, he said, adding the military and the district administration had also launched a rescue operation in kacha (riverine) areas.
On Thursday, Sindh government spokesperson and Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab told Reuters that "we're on a high alert as water arriving downstream from northern flooding is expected to enter the province over the next few days".
Keeping in view the impending threat, hundreds of families in the province have taken refuge on roads, the only dry land in sight for many. Many are headed for urban centres, like the port city of Karachi, which has for now escaped the flooding.
"We lost our house to the rain and floods, we're going to Karachi to our relatives. No one has come to help us," Allah Bakash, 50, told Reuters, who left Dadu on Thursday with his family and belongings loaded on a truck.
Medium, high level flood likely in Indus River
Meanwhile, the Flood Forecasting Division has predicted medium to high level flooding in Indus River (downstream Taunsa) from Sep 4 to Sep 6 due to expected heavy rainfall in the catchment areas.
According to daily Federal Flood Commission report on Friday, River Indus was currently flowing in “high flood” in Guddu-Sukkur reaches and in “medium flood” at Taunsa and Kotri.
Flood flows in Kabul River (a tributary of River Indus) at Nowshera have receded considerably where it was flowing in “low flood”.
Other main Rivers of Indus River System like Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej continues to flow with normal discharges.
'Displaced residents being sent back home in KP'
As floods ravaged the south, the situation was improving in the country's north, where water levels were decreasing and officials were preparing to send displaced citizens back to their homes.
In a video statement, Special Assistant to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said a high-level meeting was chaired by CM Mahmood Khan where it was decided that people would be facilitated in returning to their homes.
"People have been allowed to leave relief camps and arrangements are being made for tents, beds, edibles and other health facilities," he said, adding that the provincial government would also send survey teams to flood-hit areas to assess the extent of the damage and prepare a report.
He said damaged roads, bridges, schools and hospitals would be rebuilt.
He went on to say that flood-affected residents of Charsadda district were being housed in relief camps set up along the highway but since the situation had improved, some of them had been shifted to their homes and others to temporary camps.
"But now, they [residents] have been allowed to leave [the temporary camps] as well," he added.
Separately, Malakand Commissioner Shaukat Ali Yousafzai told Dawn.com that efforts were ongoing to repair the main road from Bahrain to Kalam, adding that it was expected to be completed within five days.
He said that the road had been damaged at several spots and the army's Corps of Engineers and Frontier Works Organisation, as well as the National Highway Authority, had started repair work.
"God willing, I hope the land route to Kalam will be restored within five days," the commissioner said.
PM Shehbaz visits Gilgit-Baltistan, announces aid for victims
Continuing his visit to flood-affected areas, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif landed in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) on Friday and met the flood-affected people in Ghizer district.
During a media talk after reviewing relief and rescue operations, the premier announced Rs100 million for the rehabilitation and resettlement of flood victims. He also said that Rs1 million would be distributed as compensation to the families of the deceased.
Separately, he instructed the district administration to construct a 5km road in the area for easy transportation.
"I am saddened at the loss of lives here due to floods. The devastation is countrywide and there is no example of it. Wherever you visit, destruction is everywhere," the PM regretted.
He said that more than 1,000 people had died across the country, thousands of houses were destroyed and people had lost their life savings. "We were already in a difficult position and these floods compounded problems. But Allah will definitely show us a way out."
He assured the residents of Ghizer that the government would not leave them alone and promised that they would be given aid within the next 24 hours.
"Even if I lose my life or my govt departs, I will not compromise on a fair distribution of amount and goods," the prime minister added.
During his visit, the premier also met with a father and daughter, the only survivors out of a family of 10. PM Shehbaz met Nosher Khan and his 15-year-old daughter Sehar and offered his condolences.
According to the GB Disaster Management Authority, 22 people have died in the region since July 1, while 53 were left injured. Moreover, 800 houses, 53 bridges and 500 irrigation channels have been destroyed in the floods.
Almost 2,000 stranded individuals evacuated: ISPR
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Friday that 200 helicopter sorties had been carried out to evacuate stranded people and also transport rations and medicines.
"During [the] last 24 hours, 1,991 stranded individuals have been evacuated and 162.6 tons of relief items have been delivered to flood-affected people," the ISPR said.
"So far, More than 50,000 individuals have been shifted to safer locations from calamity-hit areas," the statement added.
It went on to say that 147 relief camps were functional round the clock in flood-affected areas of Sindh, Southern Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
"More than 60,000 patients have been treated and provided 3-5 days’ free medicine so far."
Turkish delegation arrives in Islamabad
Meanwhile, a delegation led by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Environment Minister Murat Kurum arrived in Islamabad on Friday morning to express solidarity with Pakistan, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman received the delegation, she said in a tweet, adding that the Turkish dignitaries had told her that special Friday prayers would be held for Pakistan in their country.
"Such solidarity is rare; they tell us 90,000 mosques in Turkiye will hold special Friday prayers for Pakistan today."
According to the Radio Pakistan report, Planning Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal also received the delegation at the airport and expressed his gratitude to the leadership and people of Turkiye for extending support to Pakistan.
"We will never forget Turkiye's spirit of sharing the pain of Pakistani people," the report quoted him as saying.
The report mentioned that Turkiye was sending relief goods to Pakistan via aircraft and rail.
Later, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met the delegation and thanked the dignitaries for extending their support to Pakistan.
"I would like to welcome all of you on behalf of the government of Pakistan, the people and myself and thank you for taking out time to visit us in this time of need," the premier said.
He recalled that on August 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called him and offered condolences for the lives lost during the floods.
"Within no time after my conversation with him, we received tents, medicine, food and other items which are being distributed across Pakistan," he added.
The prime minister said that members of the Turkish delegation would be given a briefing on the devastation caused by monsoon rains this year.
British envoy meets COAS
Later in the day, British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters (GHQ) and offered UK’s support to the people of Pakistan at this hour of need amid devastating floods.
A statement issued by the ISPR said that the visiting dignitary expressed his grief over the devastation caused by unprecedented floods in Pakistan and offered sincere condolence to the families of the victims.
"The dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for regional stability and also pledged to play his role in enhancing cooperation with Pakistan at all levels."
Meanwhile, the army chief thanked the United Kingdom's support and reiterated that assistance from our global partners would be vital in the relief and rehabilitation of the flood affected.
UN agencies scaling up response to catastrophic floods
In a statement on Friday, Unicef said that it was further strengthening immediate emergency services and supplies for the relief of women, children and families in the flood-affected areas.
"We have already delivered emergency supplies worth $2 million, and these include drinking water, water purification tablets, hygiene kits, medicines, vaccines, therapeutic food for children, pregnant and lactating women, and mosquito nets," Unicef Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil said.
He stated that in the coming days and weeks, Unicef aimed to reach children and families with lifesaving medical equipment, essential medicines, vaccines and safe delivery kits, safe drinking water and water-treating tablets, and sanitation supplies, nutrition supplies, mosquito nets.
“We also want to help children resume learning and will support the government to reestablish critical services for children as soon as possible,” Fadil added.
Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan received 15 million pounds from the UK and 10 million Danish Krone from Denmark. France also pledged an “extraordinary operation” to provide emergency relief to Pakistanis shattered by floods.
The recent deluges are said to have submerged a third of the country, with Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman saying that “monster” monsoon floods have washed away 45 per cent of the country’s cropland, mainly in Sindh and caused around $10 billion in damages on the whole.
The number of flood-affected districts across the country now stands at 110, including 34 in Balochistan, 33 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 16 in Sindh and the rest in Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
The government has appealed for international assistance, and the United Nations recent issue a $160 million flash appeal to help the country cope with catastrophic floods.
Ministry of Defence issues statement against PESS
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence issued a statement saying it does not recognise or endorse the activities of certain associations of persons "masquerading as (or claiming to be) ex-servicemen societies".
Those include the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society (PESS) and Veterans of Pakistan (VoP), which it says are soliciting support and funds for charitable purposes, flood relief, public works or propagating "unwarranted ideas".
"The same are neither recognised nor authorised, on behalf of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, to indulge in such activities, as so-called ex-servicemen societies, illegally claiming association with the Armed Forces of Pakistan or the instrumentalities thereof."
It added that the ministry had already framed "comprehensive policy/ guidelines for functioning/operation of ex-servicemen societies". "Any organization of person(s) not complying with the policy guidelines shall be culpable, entailing penal consequences."
Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui