The fate of hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis rests on a 90-year-old dam.
The fate of hundreds of thousands of people in southern Pakistan depends on a 90-year-old dam controlling the mighty Indus River, with one of the largest irrigation systems in the world.
In the face of exceptional monsoon rains that have killed more than a thousand people and affected more than 33 million inhabitants, many of whom derive their livelihood from the Indus River , the Pakistani government has declared a state of emergency.
In the province of Sindh, in the south of the country, after the bad weather that fell for weeks causing the flooding of crops, the behavior of the Indus is scrutinized. The river is fed by torrents swollen by the rivers that descend from the mountains located further north.
Rising in Tibet, the Indus, which crosses the river India then Pakistan before flowing into the Arabian Sea, provides 90% of Pakistan's water supply, according to the UN.
Essential to the life of many inhabitants, the river can also take back all that it gave.
All this water coming into the river scares us, said Irshad Ali, a 42-year-old farmer who laments the loss of date palms and vegetable plots to the monsoon.
In several places, the Indus already overflows the banks and, if the Sukkur dam fails to control the flow of water, disaster is to be feared.
Built by the British Empire, the dam was considered an engineering marvel, capable of discharging 1.4 million cubic meters of water per second through 19 gates hinged between stone pillars.
A family is sitting by a river.
The dam redistributes water through nearly 10,000 kilometers of canals which then distribute it to agricultural land, but which, after years of neglect, can no longer handle today's record volumes. #x27;today registered.
The silt accumulated and could not be removed, the minister explained, adding that due to #x27;a lack of equipment, the canals have not been dredged since 2010.
The accumulation of layers of silt several meters thick hinders the flow of water, causing a risk of overflowing the Indus.
Engineers were working on Sunday to reinforce a major dyke threatened by the flooding river.
Water has already invaded the streets of Sukkur by s' infiltrating through the walls of the buildings that line the main road from Bandar along the dam.
The city is already one meter below the level of the river, said the Minister of Water Resources.
This dike is solid, the machine operational and the personnel are on alert, assured for his part the supervisor of operations, Shahid Hussain. 18828.jpg” media=”(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 99999px)”/>
Residents affected by flooding gather next to their damaged houses along the Indus River.
Time is on our side, he added, explaining that flooding caused by local rains is expected to ;will be absorbed when the waves from the north arrive.
If it rains again, however, the situation could quickly change. Fortunately, no rain is expected in the next few days, assured Minister Sayed Khurshid Shah.