High-level flood in Sukkur Barrage as casualties rise by 57

A view of Sukkur Barrage as it witnesses a high-level flood on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
A view of Sukkur Barrage as it witnesses a high-level flood on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
People remove bushes from their flooded houses in Sukkur on September 2, 2022. — AFP
People remove bushes from their flooded houses in Sukkur on September 2, 2022. — AFP

Sindh's Dadu district continued to face the threat of widespread devastation on Saturday as a high-level flood passed through Sukkur Barrage and water levels persistently rose on Manchhar Lake.

According to a Flood Forecasting Division report, a high-level flood of 559,988 cusecs was passing through Sukkur Barrage at 6am today. The barrage had a steady flow with a constant discharge of 559,998 cusecs since this morning.

The situation worsened by afternoon, when Rafique Ahmed Jamali, an MNA from Dadu, told Dawn.com that floodwater had been gushing towards the district's Johi tehsil, parts of which were already inundated.

Key Developments

  • Flood death toll reaches 1,265, with 57 casualties reported during last 24 hours
  • High-level flood passing through Sukkur Barrage
  • High water level in Manchhar Lake; Jamshoro DC gives orders to evacuate the area
  • Qambar-Shahdadkot district’s Gaji Khuhawar flooded after water overflows from a bund
  • Over 15,000 flood victims sheltering in Karachi relief camps
  • More aid arrives from France; total 30 aid flights received from friendly countries
  • PM Shehbaz announces audit of government's flood relief fund
  • Met Office says more rain expected in Punjab and KP
  • Work to restore electricity to flood-affected areas underway
  • British high commissioner visits Nowshera's flood-hit villages
  • Sherry Rehman appeals for medicines from pharmaceutical companies and multinationals
  • Ahsan Iqbal appeals to Fortune 100 companies to help in rehabilitation of affectees

Dadu district has turned out the be the new epicentre of flooding as water flows towards the country's south after wreaking havoc in the areas up north.

Meanwhile, the flow at Guddu barrage started reducing by this morning and continued to decline by the evening.

The barrage which has a discharge capacity of 1.2m cusecs had passed the peak of the second high flood of 561,118 cusecs at 6pm on Friday evening. At 6am today, the discharge dropped to 553,183 cusecs up and downstream. The flow later dropped to 532,634 cusecs up and downstream by 12pm. It further dropped to 522,626 cusecs up and downstream by 6pm.

The two barrages had passed the peak of the first high flood close to 580,000 cusecs on Aug 23 at Guddu and on Aug 25 at Sukkur. These flows are now reaching Kotri barrage.

Kotri barrage recorded a flow of 543,592 cusecs upstream and 532,787 cusecs downstream at 12pm today. It started recording a rising trend today when it passed a flow of 508,102 cusecs upstream and 498,497 cusecs downstream at 6am.

The barrage had a flow of 575,141 upstream and 562,886 cusecs downstream at 6pm to show a rising trend as the barrage was receiving a peak of high flood now. Kotri barrage received a flow of over 32,000 cusecs in the last six hours.

Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains brought floods that have killed at least 1,265 people since June 14, with 57 casualties reported during the last 24 hours, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The total number of people who have suffered injuries stands at 12,577, the NDMA said.

On Friday, Dadu city, the capital of its namesake district, was surrounded by floodwaters — with an inundated Khairpur Nathan Shah city to the north; Manchhar Lake to the south; the Main Nara Valley (MNV) drain to the west; and the Indus to the east.

In the Dadu district, several villages were under as much as 11 feet of water, according to Bashir Khan, a local resident who is in contact with people remaining in the area. “My house is underwater, I left my place four days ago with my family,” he told Reuters.

In neighbouring Mehar, residents were building a dyke in an attempt to prevent floodwaters from entering the town, he said.

According to Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali Shah, efforts are afoot to rescue stranded individuals and families.

Earlier, Kotri Barrage chief engineer had told Dawn on the phone that "we will be receiving a peak of high flood which passed by Sukkur Barrage on Aug 25". At the time, he had appeared confident that river dykes in his territorial jurisdiction were safe and strong enough to withstand the flows. Sukkur Barrage had passed the first high flood peak of 579,753 cusecs on August 25 at 6am.

Separately, the water level in Manchhar lake was also on the rise, prompting Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner (DC) Fariduddin Mustafa to issue a flood alert. He said while speaking to Dawn.com today that if the water level would rise further, residents from nearby localities could be evacuated.

Later in the day, the DC gave orders to evacuate the area due to the lake's high water level and strong winds. "Due to wave wash, the situation of Manchhar lake has reached an extremely dangerous level," he said and requested the public to evacuate and take safety measures, adding that the lake's bund was likely to break at any time.

Sardar Sikandar Rahopoto, an MNA from Sehwan, had earlier told Dawn.com that the lake's protective dykes were being monitored and relief efforts were underway.

A day ago, the lake was receiving discharges from the Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD), which is known as Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD-I). Breaches had been reported in MNVD, which had received hill torrents and caused breaches in the Flood Protective (FP) bund at multiple locations.

Subsequently, the lake’s flows into the Indus River were measured at around 10,000 to 15,000 cusecs.

“Now river Indus is not accepting huge flows as it is already having very heavy flows. Earlier, a flow of 30,000 cusecs was being easily released from the lake,” irrigation officer Mahesh Kumar had told Dawn from Manchhar Lake.

On Saturday, MPA Mujeeb ul Haq from the area said while speaking to Dawn.com that machinery was being employed and work was underway to strengthen the protective dyke on MNVD's right side.

Separately, locals told Dawn.com that Qambar-Shahdadkot district's Gaji Khuhawar was flooded after water overflowed from a bund and entered the city with three to four feet of water accumulated in various neighbourhoods.

The locals said they were forced to relocate.

Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Information and Local Bodies Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said in a press conference that he had contacted the prime minister about the situation in Qambar-Shahdadkot who issued orders to the provincial disaster management authority.

"Sindh has never experienced a greater calamity than this," he said.

'Over 15,000 flood victims housed at relief camps in Karachi'

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 Karachi, which has for now escaped the flooding.

According to Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, 15,274 flood victims have been provided shelter in 39 relief camps set up in six districts of the city so far.

The minister said in a statement today that 7,350 individuals were being housed in 15 camps in the East district, 3,490 in 6 camps established in the West district, 3,175 in Malir's eight camps, 793 in seven camps in Keamari and 466 in the sole camp set up in Korangi.

He added that two camps had been set up in the Central district, where flood victims would be housed soon.

"Flood victims are being provided cooked food, water, mosquito nets and medicines" at the relief camps, he said.

Meanwhile, Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali told Dawn.com that 201 registered relief camps were set up in the district's government buildings while "thousands of families have been living on the roads" who were being provided food twice a day.

More aid arrives

Pakistan is struggling to respond to the floods given their unprecedented magnitude. The government has said 33 million people — 15pc of its population — have been affected.

The United Nations has appealed for $160 million in aid to help tackle what it said was an “unprecedented climate catastrophe” and nations had been extending financial and moral support with promises for more.

This morning, a French aircraft carrying aid for flood victims landed at the Islamabad airport, the Ministry of National Health Services said in a tweet, quoting the ministry's spokesperson.

The spokesperson said Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel received the aircraft's crew, engineering team and the French ambassador accompanying them.

Later in the afternoon, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority posted more photographs of the French aid being received.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner Christian Turner visited Nowshera's flood-hit villages with the charity Islamic Relief UK.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for increasing flood assistance for Pakistan to RMB 400 million.

"This is a reflection of our unique bond of friendship. This support will help provide much needed relief to the people," he tweeted.

He also announced that the government's flood relief fund would be audited to "ensure transparency".

PM Shehbaz said all incoming and outgoing funds, including where and how the money was spent, would be audited and the reports would be made public.

Thus far, Pakistan has received 30 flights with relief goods from friendly countries, Radio Pakistan quoted the Foreign Office as saying.

According to the Foreign Office spokesperson, United Arab Emirates has sent a total of 12 flights, Turkiye 10, China four, Qatar two and one each by France and Uzbekistan.

Work underway to restore electricity supply

Later, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said work to restore electricity supply to flood-affected areas was underway on an emergency basis, in line with the directives of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Sharing updates in a series of tweets, she said the electricity supply from 46 grid stations of distribution companies out of the 81 damaged ones had been restored.

The information minister added that initially, 881 feeders of 11 kilovolts had been damaged by floods and so far, 475 of these feeders had been repaired.

Moreover, she continued, 35 feeders in flood-affected areas had not been operational yet due to the risk of electrocution. Twenty-five of these feeders were in Balochistan and five each in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, she said.

Marriyum said two transmission lines of the National Transmission & Despatch Company, running from Sibi to Quetta and Dadu to Khuzdar, were damaged because of floods. The line between Dadu and Khuzdar would be repaired by tomorrow to supply 300 megawatts of electricity to flood-affected areas, she added.

The repair of the transmission line between Sibi and Quetta will be completed by September 10, the minister said.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appreciated government departments and public servants for their "amazing work" in the rehabilitation of flood-affected areas.

"A massive national effort is underway to restore essential services in the flood-hit areas," he tweeted.

He also said the reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-affected highways and bridges were rapidly ongoing and congratulated the National Highway Authority and Frontier Works Organisation for opening all major highways, including the Karakoram Highway, for traffic in a short period of time.

Minister makes appeal for medicines

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman launched an appeal for medicines from pharmaceutical companies and multinationals.

Rehman listed some medicines which she said were "urgently needed" for infants and toddlers in flood relief camps. She asked the companies to coordinate with the provincial disaster management authorities.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal also appealed to Fortune 100 companies to join the government's efforts to rehabilitate flood affectees.

More rain expected

Weather officials have predicted more rains but of lesser intensity than witnessed in previous weeks during September.

In a forecast issued on Saturday, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said rain-wind/thunderstorms were likely in the upper parts of the country till Tuesday.

"Weak monsoon currents from the Arabian Sea are penetrating the upper and central parts of the country," the Met Office said.

Under their impact, it added, rain-wind/thundershowers, with isolated heavy falls, were expected in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Murree, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Sialkot, Narowal, Lahore Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sheikhupura, Mianwali, Khushab, Sargodha, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Jhang and Faisalabad from Saturday to Tuesday.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, rain-wind/thundershowers, with isolated heavy falls, were expected in Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, Malakand, Bajaur, Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi, Nowshera, Kurram, Kohat and Waziristan on Sunday and Monday, the Met Office said.

Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui.

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