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

Swathes of the country are now under water, after what UN officials described as a ‘monsoon on steroids’ brought the heaviest rainfall in living memory and floods that killed 1,162 people, injured 3,554 and affected 33 million since mid-June.

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

In the center of the image, a large dark blue area shows the Indus River 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 shocking transformation from the photo taken by the same satellite on the same date last year, which shows the river and its tributaries contained in what appear in comparison to be small narrow bands, highlighting the extent of damage in one of the countries. hardest hit areas.

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

In Sindh and Balochistan provinces, rainfall was 500% above average, engulfing entire villages and farmland, leveling buildings and wiping out crops.

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

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

“A Flood of Apocalyptic Proportions”

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he visited Sindh and saw with his own eyes how the floods had displaced entire villages and towns.

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

“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 magnitude of the current flooding is of apocalyptic proportions. We certainly hope this isn’t a new climate reality.”

Maxar Technologies satellite images from other parts of the country show how entire villages and hundreds of patches of verdant land have been swept away by the fast-moving floods.

Footage from Gudpur, a locality in Punjab, shows how floods have damaged homes and replaced 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 the floods were the “worst in Pakistan’s history” and international aid 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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