Floodwaters in south Pakistan 'begin to recede'

Millions of people are homeless and need emergency aid


Emergency officials in Pakistan say water levels in flood-stricken southern Pakistan are beginning to recede.


They warned, however, that water levels on the southern reaches of the Indus River were still "exceptionally high".
The floods, triggered by torrential monsoon rains in the north-west, have moved south through the country, submerging towns and farmland.
More than 1,600 people have died and about six million left homeless in Pakistan's worst flooding.
In total, about 17 million of Pakistan's 166 million people have been affected by the disaster.
'Need to be watchful' The danger of flooding remained high, but levels were beginning to drop as the surge of water that had been flowing north-south across Pakistan reached the Arabian Sea, said Hadi Baksh, an emergency official in southern Sindh province.
"In the coming days, the towns and villages will be out of flood danger," he said.
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Relief goods are pouring into Pakistan from all over the world.
But aid agencies admit they are still only reaching a small proportion of the people who need help.
In Sindh, the worst affected province, the aid effort is focused on people in relief camps.
The aid agency Oxfam says that as well as giving food and water, it has also started handing out cash vouchers.
These allow families to choose goods from local shops. But they only work in areas where shops have stock - and only those in camps are getting them.
The majority who can not get into camps are simply fending for themselves on whatever dry ground they can find.

Pakistan's meteorological department said water inflows at the Kotri barrage were receding but that the Indus River there would "continue in exceptionally high flood level" for another day.


Weather official Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry said: "We believe that it will take another 10 to 12 days for rivers in Sindh to come to normal flow. Therefore we need to be watchful."
The town of Thatta, downstream from the Kotri barrage, was hastily evacuated as the swollen Indus breached an embankment.
A major inundation was avoided thanks to the hasty rebuilding of levees around the town, said Mr Baksh, and people were beginning to return to their homes.
But on the other side of the river, the town of Sujawal was submerged.
Almost the entire population managed to evacuate the town, however.
"We estimate that there are still up to 400 people in Sujawal and the surrounding villages and they are being rescued by boats," Mr Baksh said.


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