Pakistan attempts another breach in biggest lake even as 100,000 people displaced

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Pakistan’s biggest lake might burst its banks after a last-ditch effort to drain its water in a controlled manner failed, a senior official has warned.

Lake Manchar in the southeastern Sindh province in Pakistan has had its water levels rise to dangerously high levels, especially because of the unprecedented monsoons that have claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people in the country.

Pakistan breached Manchar over the weekend, displacing up to 100,000 people from their homes. A minister said that it was aimed at saving more densely populated areas from gathering flood water.

On Monday, however, the province’s minister for irrigation Jam Khan Shoro admitted that the effort was not working. He said: “The water level at Manchar has not come down.”

On Tuesday, however, the authorities were attempting to widen a breach to prevent the country’s largest natural freshwater lake from overflowing.

Mr Shoro said late on Monday that “we have widened the earlier breach at Manchar to reduce the rising water level”.

He added that the pressure in Dadu, Khairpur Nathan Shah, and Mehar would ease after the new cuts.

Nearly a third of Pakistan is currently under water following months of record monsoons that had wreaked devastation across the country.

Another district official, Murtaza Shah, was quoted as saying by Reuters on Tuesday that “till yesterday there was enormous pressure on the dykes of Johi and Mehar towns, but people are fighting it out by strengthening the dykes”. He added that 80 to 90 per cent of townspeople had already fled.

One resident, Akbar Lashari, was quoted as saying that “after the breach at Manchar, the water has started to flow, earlier it was sort of stagnant”.

Due to the rising water level, the nearly Sehwan airport has also been inundated, local civil aviation authorities said.

Meanwhile, Geo TV reported that water from Manchar had inundated hundreds of villages along the Indus Highway near the Sehwan toll plaza and Bobak-Sehwan link road in Singh. It reported that hundreds of people were trapped in their houses in Jaffarabad and Wahar union councils.

The officials have now directed people to evacuate.

The latest figures from the National Disaster Management Authority show that nearly 6,000 kilometres of roads have been washed away, 246 bridges demolished, and 1.6 million homes either destroyed or badly damaged since the monsoon began in June.