Shehbaz appeals for donations of blankets, baby food

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Flood death toll reaches 1,545 as 37 more perish

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday urged people across the country to generously donate baby food and blankets for flood-affected people on an urgent basis.

Addressing a meeting to review rescue and relief operations in flood-hit areas, the premier appealed to the nation to donate quilts and warm clothes for those “sleeping under the open skies” as winters were approaching.

“There are several non-governmental organisations with a good reputation, donate to them. Or, you can give these essentials to centres set up by the army and provincial authorities,” he said.

“The affected people are looking towards you. In these times of need, I urge all the well-to-do people to come forward and help,” PM Shehbaz stressed.

In its daily situation report on Saturday, the National Disaster Management Authority said the death toll from floods has risen by 37 during the last 24 hours. The cumulative death toll since June 14 now stood at 1,545, the report added.

It showed that 92 individuals had sustained injuries due to floods in the last 24 hours, raising the total number of injured reported since mid-June to 12,850.

Record monsoon rains in south and southwest Pakistan and glacial melt in northern areas have triggered the flooding that has affected nearly 33 million people, sweeping away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock and causing an estimated $30 billion of damage.

The floods have displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Sindh, where water levels have started dropping in recent days albeit gradually. Officials estimate that it may take two to six months before floodwaters recede completely.

On Saturday, Mehar Assistant Commissioner Mohsin Sheikh told media that the water level had dropped approximately three feet at the ring bund and expressed the hope that the floodwater would recede completely from there within three days.

He further said he was expecting the water to recede from the highway leading to the city in seven days. “Once it recedes, one track of the highway will be opened for traffic,” the AC added.

Meanwhile, water was standing up to eight feet in Mehar’s villages, he said.

In Khairpur Nathan Shah city, Assistant Commissioner Sonu Khan Chandio said, the water level had dropped approximately three feet. In the region’s remote areas, he added, the stagnant water was as high as “eight to nine feet”.

Johi Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Ali Baloch estimated that water had dropped by around three feet in the region’s outskirts.

Similarly, Dadu Assistant Commissioner Shahnawaz Merani said that the water was now flowing back into Manchhar Lake from the city’s remote areas.

He said tent cities were being established in the Dadu city to house flood-affected individuals and families.

In Bhan Syedabad, MNA Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto told media, the water was continuously receding in the city and its outskirts and there was no pressure on the city’s ring bund.

“The water is standing up to eight to nine feet in Bhan Syedabad, which is continuously dropping. Life has returned to Bhan Syedabad,” he said.

Meanwhile, an engineer of the provincial irrigation department, Mahesh Kumar, said the water level in Manchhar Lake was measured at 121.2-foot reduced level around noon on Saturday. “The water from the lake is now flowing in the River Indus,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon, Indus was witnessing a medium-level flood at Kotri, according to the Flood Forecasting Division’s website.

 

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