Waters recede as tent cities spring up

Water levels receded in Sindh and Swat rivers on Thursday but survivors of record floods endured grim conditions in makeshift tent cities, as the UN appealed for 460 million dollars in urgent foreign aid.
Flood warnings remained in place for certain towns in Punjab and Sindh provinces but forecasters predicted only scattered rain, and many survivors were instead broiling in unbearable heat.
“The water level is receding in Sindh and Swat rivers and the water tendency is falling at Tarbela dam in the northwest,” Arif Mehmood, chief meteorologist, told AFP.
Chenab river is also going down, he said.
The federal government has admitted to being overwhelmed, and Islamic charities have conducted a highly visible aid effort on the ground.
The relief focus was switching to an estimated two million people who require shelter after fleeing flood-hit areas, as tents spring up along main roads and on the edge of major towns and cities.
“We estimate that at least two million require shelter and we’ve provided a quarter of that already,” Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told AFP.
“Today the deliveries of tents and other shelter materials have started in Punjab and we’re gearing up for Sindh.”
In Sindh, the provincial government said water levels had receded at the two main dams, although flood waters remained high.
The exodus of people to large conurbations is turning into a “huge humanitarian crisis”, putting an extra burden on local economies and infrastructure, said Sindh spokesman Jameel Soomro.
“We have a plan to shift flood victims to tent cities… More than 100,000 people have arrived in Sukkur from different flood-hit areas, which is more than five percent of the city’s population,” he said.
“We are using all our resources to provide victims with food, medicine and shelter amid reports about outbreak of water-borne diseases, specially among children and women.
In Punjab, one of the worst affected areas was the town of Muzaffargarh, where administrator Farasat Iqbal said up to 400,000 people had been evacuated and rising waters posed a risk of flooding the town in the next 24 to 36 hours.
In the northwest, officials said there was no danger of flooding in the main city of Peshawar or the town of Nowshehra, Warsak dam or the northwestern district of Swat, where police said water levels were receding.