Govt issues 'last warning' as flood waters rise in Sindh
Authorities in Pakistan have issued a "last warning" urging people to shift to safer places as flood waters continued to rise in the northern Sindh province, threatening to worsen the disaster that has so far claimed more than 1,600 lives.world Updated: Aug 23, 2010 15:29 IST
Authorities in Pakistan have issued a "last warning" urging people to shift to safer places as flood waters continued to rise in the northern Sindh province, threatening to worsen the disaster that has so far claimed more than 1,600 lives.
The district administration issued a "last warning" to people living in Shahdadkot to immediately leave the town, Dawn News reported on Monday.
Qambar-Shahdadkot District Coordination Officer Ghulam Yaseen Shar said the rising waves of floodwaters gushing out of breaches in the Tori and Begari canals were moving towards the town of 400,000 people. A temporary embankment around the town has also been breached.
Sindh Food Minister Mir Nadir Ali Magsi said: "We did not expect such a calamity."
The minister said the water level has risen to eight and a half feet. If the authorities had foreseen such a situation they would have built a higher embankment to save the town, he added.
Boats of the navy and the Pakistan fisherfolk forum are rescuing marooned people in several areas where only traces of submerged villages can be seen.
Magsi said hundreds of people who had taken shelter along the banks of the Saifullah Magsi branch had to be evacuated. "We urgently need navy boats and helicopters to save them."
Yaseen Tunio of the fisherfolk forum said more than 300 families were stranded in Shahpur Jamali, Boqo Jamali and Kot Gurgaig villages. "We are using two boats to rescue them."
Wajid Chandio, former nazim of Shahdadkot, said at least 50 people were marooned in the submerged Aitbar Khan Chandio village near the motorway bypass and boats were not available to rescue them.
Floodwaters moving towards Ratodero inundated a graveyard and some historical monuments in Darya Khan Mastoi and Sharbat Brohi villages.
Shahdadkot town wore a deserted look on Sunday. Two families were waiting for transport at the Koto-Moto chowk, the business hub in the town. The 1.5 km long main bazaar was also deserted.
The floods triggered by monsoon rains in the past one month have spread across the country, swelling rivers and submerging hundreds of villages.
Media reports say more than 1,600 people have been killed and over 20 million affected in the worst disaster in the country's history of six decades.
According to APP, President Asif Ali Zardari called Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar Zaman Shah on Sunday to inquire about the flood situation and the condition of embankments from downstream Kotri to Mulakatiar in Tando Mohammad Khan district of Sindh.
The president asked the minister to maintain round-the-clock vigilance at the embankments and also to ensure relief and rescue operations to help the affected people.