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Flooding in Pakistan created a 100 km wide lake, satellite images show

Flooding in Pakistan created a 100 km wide lake, satellite images show
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Swaths of the country are now under water, after what United Nations officials have described as a “monsoon on steroids” brought the heaviest rains in living memory and floods that have killed 1,162 people, injured 3,554 and affected 33 million from mid June.

The new images, taken on August 28 by NASA’s MODIS satellite sensor, show how a combination of heavy rain and an overflowing Indus River have flooded much of Sindh province in the south.

In the center of the image, a large dark blue area shows the Indus overflowing and flooding an area about 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide, turning what were once agricultural fields into a giant inland lake.

It’s a striking transformation of the photo taken by the same satellite on the same date last year, showing the river and its contained tributaries in what appear to be small, narrow bands by comparison, highlighting the extent of damage in one of the the areas of the country. most affected areas.

This year’s monsoon is already the country’s wettest since records began in 1961, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, with the season still a month away.

In both Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, rainfall has been 500% above average, engulfing villages and entire farmlands, leveling buildings and destroying crops.

While mostly dry weather is expected in the region in the coming days, experts say it will take days for the water to recede.

Pakistan’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, said on Sunday that parts of the country “looks like a small ocean”, and that “by the time this is over, we may well have a quarter or a third of Pakistan under water.”

‘Flood of apocalyptic proportions’

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he had visited Sindh and seen firsthand how the floods had displaced entire towns and cities.

“There is hardly any dry land that we can find. The scale of this tragedy… 33 million people, that’s more than the population of Sri Lanka or Australia,” he said.

“And while we understand that the new reality of climate change means more extreme weather, or monsoons, more extreme heat waves like we saw earlier this year, the scale of the current flooding is of apocalyptic proportions. We certainly hope it doesn’t It’s a new climate.” reality.”

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies of other areas of the country show how entire towns and hundreds of patches of green land have been washed away by rapid flooding.

Images from Gudpur, a town in Punjab, show how floods have damaged houses and replaced the land with winding paths of bare earth.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday to inspect flood damage.

The province has recorded most of the latest deaths after water levels rose exponentially, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority said.

Sharif said on Tuesday that the flooding was “the worst in Pakistan’s history” and that international assistance was needed to deal with the scale of the devastation.

Additional reporting by CNN’s Rachel Ramirez, Angela Dewan and Jan Camenzind Broomby.

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