Manchar Lake cut to release water pressure

Government authorities made a cut at Manchar Lake on Sunday in a desperate attempt to protect villagers in Sindh.

The situation at Manchar Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in Pakistan, is becoming critical with each passing day, threatening the lives and assets of the residents of five union councils of Jamshoro district.

The Sehwan Airport, an installation of an oil company as well as Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s home village, are located in the five Union Councils (UCs) – Bubak, Aarazi, Wahar, Jaffarabad and Channa.

Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Capt (retd) Fariduddin Mustafa on Saturday had issued evacuation orders for the people of the five UCs, saying that they should move out to safer places.

The water level at the lake had further increased to 123 Reduced Level (RL) amid strong winds.

Read PM reassures federal govt’s support to Sindh in relief, rescue efforts

During his recent visit to Manchhar Lake, the Sindh chief minister had said that the water level in the lake would be dangerous if it reached 123 feet, which at that time was 120.75 feet.

The lake’s gushing water had flooded two rural towns – Jhangara and Bajara – and surrounding villages on Saturday.

The cut made to release water pressure in Manchhar Lake is expected to affect some 400 villages in seven UCs in the area.

Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro confirmed while speaking to The Express Tribune that the cut was made to reduce the pressure on the lake and to secure Dadu, Mehar and Sehwan.

"Technically, it was necessary to make a cut to the lake," he said, adding that a few UCs were affected after the cut.

Sources said that the officials of the irrigation department had urged the government to act immediately as the area between RD-50 to RD-55 was left vulnerable due to the pressure of the water. Resultantly, the cut was made from RD-14.

Mustafa Mallah, a resident of Manchhar Lake told The Express Tribune that except for a dozen villages, all the remaining human population was badly affected. “The situation is critical,” he said.

Read More Sindh flood victims pour into Balochistan

Residents of Johi, Mehar, Khairpur Nathan Shah and other areas had already demanded the provincial government to make a cut and save the residents of three taluks.

The villages and towns are particularly endangered by the rising water pressure on the lake’s embankments after deluging Jhangara and Bajara towns.

“The next 24 hours will be very critical,” the DC had said yesterday (Saturday). “We are keeping a watch on the banks day and night.”

The road links of many small towns and villages with Sehwan had already come under water. The lake received around 40,000 cusecs water from Main Nara Valley (MNV) drain and the hill torrents. However, only around 25,000 cusecs was released in the Indus River and 15,000 cusecs had been retained in the lake.

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