The United Nations has warned that the humanitarian situation in Pakistan was expected to get worse, as authorities tried to prevent the country’s biggest lake from bursting its banks amid unprecedented floods that have inundated a third of the South Asian nation.
Authorities have tried to widen the breach at Manchar Lake in southern Sindh province to lower water levels but that has proved to be futile so far.
“We have widened the earlier breach at Manchar to reduce the rising water level,” provincial irrigation minister Jam Khan Shoro told the Reuters news agency.
Already, 100,000 people have been displaced in efforts to keep the lake from overflowing, and if it breaches its banks, it could affect hundreds of thousands more, authorities said.
“After the breach at Manchar, the water has started to flow, earlier it was sort of stagnant,” one resident, Akbar Lashari, said by telephone, following Sunday’s initial breach of the lake.
A local government official Murtaza Shah said on Tuesday that people have helped in strengthening dikes Johi and Mehar towns in Sindh province – one of the worst hit by the monsoon flooding.
Shah added that 80 to 90 percent of the population of the towns had already fled. Those who remain are attempting to strengthen existing dikes with machinery provided by district officials.
The waters have turned the nearby town of Johi into a virtual island, as a dike built by locals holds back the water.