Authorities on Sunday evacuated tens of thousands from flood-threatened areas in the south but insisted that the 2.5 million people of Hyderabad were safe from the nation’s worst-ever inundation.
The month-long floods nationwide have killed 1,500 people and affected up to 20 million, according to official tallies, with the threat of disease ever-present in miserable camps sheltering penniless survivors.
“We are right now trying to protect Shahdadkot town, which is threatened by the rising floodwaters,” Sindh provincial irrigation minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo said.
He said an embankment built to protect the city was under immense water pressure and “we are trying to save the city from the unprecedented flood”.
Dharejo said the Sindh government had already escorted most of Shahdadkot’s 100,000 population to safety.
“But there are still some people stranded in these villages (around Shahdadkot) and we are making efforts to rescue them,” he added.
Dharejo, however, stressed there was no threat to Hyderabad, the second-largest city in Sindh and Pakistan’s sixth biggest overall.
“There is nothing of the sort… Hyderabad is so far safe despite the growing pressure from floodwaters. We have strengthened embankments around the city,” the official said.
The International Monetary Fund said it would meet Pakistani officials in Washington this week to discuss the impact of the floods, which have devastated the country’s southern agricultural breadbasket and its textiles industry.
Millions of flood survivors in desperate need of food, shelter and clean drinking water meanwhile require humanitarian assistance to survive, as concerns grow over potential cholera, typhoid and hepatitis outbreaks.