(ORDO NEWS) — Stunning new satellite images showing the extent of Pakistan’s record-breaking flood show how the flooding Indus River turned part of Sindh into a 100-kilometer inland lake.
The country was submerged after what the United Nations said a “monsoon on steroids” brought the worst rains and floods in recorded history, killing 1,162 people and injuring and injuring 3,554 people since mid-June 33 million people.
New images taken on Aug. 28 from NASA‘s MODIS satellite show how a combination of heavy rainfall and the Indus River inundated much of southern Sindh.
In the center of the image, a large area of deep blue shows that the Indus has overflowed and flooded an area about 100 kilometers wide, turning what was once agricultural fields into a giant inland lake.
This is a shocking change from a photograph taken by the same satellite on the same day last year, which shows the river and its tributaries being held back in small, narrow lanes, highlighting the extent of the damage in one of the country’s worst-affected areas.
This year’s monsoon is already the wettest in the country since records began in 1961, with a month to go until the end of the season, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
In the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, rainfall exceeded the average by 500%, causing entire villages and farmlands to be flooded, buildings destroyed and crops destroyed.
Although the region is expected to experience mostly dry weather in the coming days, experts say it will take several days for the water to recede.
Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said on Sunday that parts of the country “are like a small ocean” and that “a quarter or a third of Pakistan could be under water by the time this is all over.”
A flood of apocalyptic proportions
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he had visited Sindh and had seen firsthand how the flooding had displaced entire villages and towns.
“There is almost no 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 heatwaves, as we saw earlier this year, the scale of the current flooding is apocalyptic. We really hope this is not a new climate reality.” .
Satellite imagery by Maxar Technologies from other parts of the country shows how entire villages and hundreds of tracts of verdant land were razed to the ground by fast-moving floods.
Pictures from Gudpur, a community in Punjab, show how the floods destroyed houses and replaced the land with snaking paths of bare earth.
On Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to inspect flood damage.
The province has seen the most deaths after water levels rose exponentially, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority said.
On Tuesday, Sharif said the floods are “the worst in Pakistan’s history” and international assistance is needed to deal with the devastation.
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