Flood defenses strengthened in Pakistan | world | Hindustan Times
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Flood defenses strengthened in Pakistan

world Updated: Aug 23, 2010 15:34 IST
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Authorities piled stones and sandbags to strengthen embankments protecting a city from rising waters in Pakistan on Monday as the floods moved slowly south after leaving thousands of square kilometers (miles) of destruction in their wake. The disaster has left around six million people homeless from the mountainous north to the plains in the south, where the floods are expected to drain into the Arabian Ocean in the coming days and weeks. The shaky government has come under criticism for its response, and will require billions of dollars in foreign aid to rebuild. The scale of the disaster has raised fears that Islamist extremist such as the Taliban may regroup in the misery left behind in their wake.

The latest town under threat from the Indus River is Shadad Kot in southern Sindh province. On the eastern side of the city, the embankment was under pressure from nine-foot high waters, said Yaseen Shar, the top administrative official there. "We are fighting this constant threat by filling the breaches with stones and sand bags but it is a very challenging task," he said.

Most of the city's 350,000 people have moved to relief camps or to towns and cities away from the danger.

Local charities, the Pakistani army and international agencies are providing food, water, medicine and shelter to the displaced, but millions have received little or help. Aid officials warn that waterborne diseases like cholera now pose a real threat. On Sunday, the government said the world has given or pledged more than $800 million of aid to the country.