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Half a million ordered to evacuate Thatta | Pk Geo News

By Haris Afzal on Friday, August 27, 2010 with 0 comments

THATTA: Officials in flood-ravaged Pakistan ordered nearly half a million people to evacuate towns Thursday as the United Nations vowed to forge ahead with relief operations despite threats against foreign aid workers.

Torrential monsoon rains triggered massive floods affecting a fifth of the volatile country -- an area roughly the size of England -- where US officials have reported threats by the Taliban.

But UN humanitarian chief John Holmes pledged relief operations would continue.

"We will not be deterred from doing what we believe we need to do, which is to help the people of Pakistan," he told a news conference at the world body's headquarters in New York.

"Those threats existed before the floods and we've always known that the security issues are there," he said.

As the crisis deepened, villagers in the south fled from where the Indus delta merges with the Arabian Sea, trailing north in vans laden with furniture, crowded into buses, or in carts pulled by oxen. Some people were on foot, leading their livestock.

Water lined the road from Hyderabad to Thatta town, as workers frantically used bulldozers to dig embankments only just higher than the flooding, and where people camped out under open skies or in makeshift tents.

The catastrophe has already affected more than 17 million people and left eight million dependent on aid to survive.

Officials have confirmed that 1,600 people have been killed and 2,366 wounded, but officials warn that millions are at risk from diseases and food shortages.

In the southern province of Sindh, where the floods have washed away huge swathes of the rich farmland on which Pakistan's struggling economy depends, a senior administration official warned that fresh floods threaten the towns of Sujawal, Mirpur Bathoro and Daro.

Hadi Bakhsh Kalhoro told media that 400,000 had been warned of the danger posed by rising waters.

Administrator of Thatta district Manzoor Sheikh told media that 100,000 people were on the move to safer ground on Thursday.

"My estimate is that there were some 100,000 people moving just today towards safer places, and the movement of people was still continuing," Sheikh said.

Category: Pakistan News

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