With Pakistan's flood disaster entering its second week, the entire 70,000 strong population of Khanpur in the Punjab had been evacuated by Monday (27 August).
With Pakistan's flood disaster entering its second week, the entire 70,000 strong population of Khanpur in the Punjab had been evacuated by Monday (27 August). Further south in Sind Province, airdrops of vital supplies were being made to marooned villages around Sukkur, which is situated on the rampant River Indus.
Khanpur was submerged under twenty feet of water, and the inhabitants were taken to Rahimyar Khan by train. Prime Minister, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who flew over the area, said this was the worst flooding in Pakistan for eighty years. Helicopters, including some former United States gunships, dropped supplies to stranded villagers near Sukkur because landing was impossible. Many of the villagers refuse to leave their homes.
Meanwhile as the River Indus raged southwards at a record height of 24 feet, desperate efforts were being made to protect the city of Hyderabad with its population of half a million. The most recent estimate of a Pakistani official is that 336 people have been killed and 8 million made homeless in the Punjab alone.
SYNOPSIS: The town of Khanpur in the Punjab was entirely under water on Monday - caught in the floods which have already devastated vast areas of Pakistan and claimed hundreds of lives. The entire population of seventy thousand had previously been evacuated by train to the nearly town of Rahimyar Khan.
There had been desperate efforts to divert the floods by making a breach in the railway line near Khanpur, but the volume of water was too great. Punjab Chief Minister, Miraj Khalid, said more than ten million acres of farmland had been flooded, and that they would need a million tons of wheat to tide them over.
Further south in the Sind province, helicopters have been making relief flights without a break to help villagers stranded near Sukkur on the river Indus. They include six United States helicopters, which had previously been used as gunships in the Vietnam war.
The helicopters have been taking rescue equipment, and foodstuffs.
The Chief Sind Minister, Mr. Mumtz Ali Shutto, has personally taken charge of the rescue operations. The Prime Minister, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, has also flown over the area. He is now further south in the city of Hyderabad. Her half million inhabitants have been striving to keep out the Indus.
The helicopters have had to make numerous air-drops because landing is not possible everywhere. Although the Indus has reached record levels, many villagers have refused to leave their homes. They prefer to cling to the roofs of their huts, saying that if they go somewhere else, the floods might spread there as well.