Pak floods: Officials struggle to stop largest freshwater lake from overflowing

Authorities were working to evacuate people and provide relief to the flood victims. At least 363 army helicopters had been flown to various areas as part of relief efforts.

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities on Tuesday struggled to stop the country’s largest freshwater lake from overflowing amid unprecedented floods as their efforts to lower its water levels failed, displacing around 100,000 people in the adjacent areas.

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The Manchar Lake in Sindh province is dangerously full after record monsoons that inundated a third of Pakistan and killed over 1,300 people since mid-June.

On Sunday, officials attempted to release water from the lake. Despite their efforts, water levels in the lake remained stubbornly high on Monday. On Tuesday they again attempted to lower water levels.

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Four breaches of the lake’s banks so far – to protect areas downstream – have displaced over 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, the death toll from floods rose to 1,325 on Tuesday after another 11 people died across the country.

The majority of 522 people died in Sindh, followed by 289 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 260 in Balochistan, 189 in Punjab, 42 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, 22 in Gilgit-Baltistan and one in Islamabad, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

At least 12,703 people have been injured in floods which also damaged 5,735 km of roads.

Authorities were working to evacuate people and provide relief to the flood victims. At least 363 army helicopters had been flown to various areas as part of relief efforts.

In the last 24 hours, 25 sorties have flown and evacuated 131 stranded individuals and delivered 32 tons of relief items to flood affectees, the Army said, adding so far 3,716 stranded Individuals had been evacuated through these helicopter sorties.

There were 147 relief camps in Sindh, South Punjab and Balochistan while 284 relief item collection points had been established across the country.

More than 250 medical camps established so far in which more than 97,000 patients have been treated all across the country and provided 3-5 days’ free medicine, according to the data shared by the government.

Several international aid agencies were beginning to arrive in flood-ravaged Pakistan on Monday, delivering much-needed food, clean water and medicines to victims.

Japan announced that it will provide emergency grant assistance of USD 7 million to Pakistan, according to a news release issued by the Japanese embassy.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said it was scaling up support to Pakistan.

It said that the first three of nine scheduled flights had arrived on Monday in Pakistan with the other five on their way. The aid included 40,000 sleeping mats, nearly 15,000 kitchen sets and some 5,000 multi-purpose tarpaulins.

The UNHCR said that an additional six flights are scheduled from Dubai for Wednesday and Thursday, with 4,500 sleeping mats, 400 tarpaulins, and nearly 5,000 kitchen sets.

UNHCR trucks carrying tents for some 11,000 families are also on the road from Uzbekistan, with more convoys scheduled, the UN refugee agency said.

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