FLOOD-HIT people displaced from nearby districts have taken refuge in a graveyard located on Quetta Road, between Jacobabad in Sindh and Jafferabad in Balochistan.—AFP
FLOOD-HIT people displaced from nearby districts have taken refuge in a graveyard located on Quetta Road, between Jacobabad in Sindh and Jafferabad in Balochistan.—AFP

HYDERABAD / DADU: Although water levels in the Manchhar Lake and its connected waterways dropped slightly, water gushing out of the latest cuts made in the freshwater lake inundated the Indus Highway on Tuesday.

A bridge near the Sehwan toll plaza was damaged by the torrents, while a 30km stretch of the highway has been closed for traffic, officials said.

Motorway Police official Saqib Ahmer told Dawn that barriers had been installed on the road and commuters have been advised not to use this route.

Word of a fresh breach in the Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD) at RD-10 on Tuesday may have come as ‘good news’ for the people of Dadu and Jamshoro, who could now look forward to a decline in water levels as the amount of discharge from the Manchhar Lake was starting to show signs of reduction.

According to Manchhar’s executive engineer Mahesh Kumar, the lake’s level was recorded at 123.25RL in morning, which first dropped to 123.2RL in the afternoon and then, with a marginal decline of 0.2, stood at 123RL by Tuesday night, he said.

Likewise, the MNVD recorded a drop of 3-4 inches, according to a senior Wapda officer.

“This 3-4 inch drop is nothing considering the heavy quantum of flows ending up in MNV, but at least the beginning of the end has started”, said Wapda’s Sukkur Chief Engineer (water) Naeem Qadir Mangi.

The currents from the breach at RD-10, reported to be a ‘man made’ cut, swept away three persons. However, they managed to save themselves and returned to the bank, as seen in a viral video.

Mr Mangi said that breach in RD-10 was largely due to the influx of water into MNVD over the past two days, which had started eroding the drain’s bank. This pressure finally tore through the bank after the lake refused to accept more water.

Sindh Special Secretary Irrigation Jamal Mangan told Dawn that water from the two cuts at Manchhar’s RD-14 and RD-52, as well as the breach in RD-10 of MNVD, would head for a location between Manchhar’s containing bank and the Indus Link.

He said the breach would decrease the scale of the threat to Dadu city.

“Now this water will accumulate in a pocket between Manchhar’s bank and the Indus Link. Once water in this pocket attains a level that is above the current level of the Indus, it will be allowed to enter the river through a controlled cut. Currently, Indus was having high flood level Kotri barrage upstream,” Mr Mangi said.

However, all is not well, as the flows from the lake have inundated the employees colony and lounge of Sehwan airport.

At the Aral Wah embankment, the final lifeline of Sehwan city and Bhan Syedabad towns, the water pressure has risen immensely.

The water is affecting villages in UCs Bubak, Arazi, Jaffarabad, Paka Channa and Wahur, while as many as 300 big and small villages in Sehwan taluka have been flooded by water from the Manchhar Lake.

Local MNA Sardar Sikandar Rahpoto told Dawn that the provincial government would try to ensure that Sehwan city was protected, and all out-was taking all efforts at embankments of Sehwan.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2022

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