Flood displaces hundreds, destroys houses in Pakistan after India releases water without notification

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-22 20:24:03|Editor: xuxin
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ISLAMABAD, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of Pakistani villages located at the bank of River Sutlej have been submerged after India released water without notifying the authorities in Pakistan, displacing hundreds of people while destroying several houses and standing crops, said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Thursday.

Over 1,200 persons were rescued from the flood-affected villages by a local administration while another 1,613 persons have been shifted to safer places, according to the NDMA.

Rescue teams along with Pakistan army personnel are taking part in the rescue operations, a local administrative official in Lahore told Xinhua, adding that more than 80 relief camps have been set up for flood affectees so far.

He said water level in the river is continuously rising, and the concerned authorities are making all-out efforts to ensure timely evacuation of people from the affected villages.

A spokesperson of the NDMA Mukhtar Ahmed told local media that three of the villages located near the bed of the river went completely underwater due to flooding, and the people from these most-affected villages have already been evacuated to safer places.

Earlier on Monday, the NDMA had warned of a flood-like situation in the areas alongside the river after India released up to 200,000 million cusecs of excessive water in the River Sutlej that flows through Pakistan's eastern Punjab province.

"The flood alert was issued in order to avoid the loss of lives and properties as India did not communicate the release of water to Pakistan," Director General of the Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority Khurram Shahzad said.

According to a water-distribution agreement between the two neighboring countries, India is bound to pre-schedule its spillway openings, but the incumbent Indian government has canceled all the meetings of Indus Water Commission, which was formed to resolve disputes over water sharing with Pakistan.

Pakistani agricultural experts believe that India is trying to destroy an agro-based economy of the country by taking such measures and using water as an instrument of war, trying to convert agricultural land of Pakistan into deserts through inundation and trickling of water.

The development came when relations between Pakistan and India have been strained after the latter decided to revoke the special status of the Indian-controlled Kashmir earlier this month.

In its response, Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations and suspended trade ties with India.