U.S. Marines, the Pakistani military the UN and NGO's are desperately trying to get food and aid to flood victims but the Indus river has taken a new channel, the water is still rising and the it's one foot from cutting off a the Indus highway and number of towns.
Aid workers and the U.S. Marines are using helicopters to get food and medicine to people otherwise cut off from help by flood waters. However, even with heavy lift helicopters, the growing needs of millions of stranded and displaced people are hard to meet.
"Everything I saw and heard today confirmed that this disaster -- already one of the largest the world has seen -- is still getting bigger," U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said Wednesday.
She is on a 3-day tour of the province of Sindh, where more than 16,750 square miles are under water and nearly half a million homes have been destroyed.
"With 21 million people affected across Pakistan this cannot be treated as just another crisis -- it is an immense and still unfolding catastrophe," said Amos.
NASA imagery from the MODIS terra satellite shows that the Indus river broke through a large irrigation and flood control structure to take a new course. The river has created a lake several hundred miles long which has merged with Lake Manchar, the largest lake in Pakistan.
Only one foot of levy remains keeping four cities from getting cut off as rising water from the new river channel and the massively expanded Manchar lake will overflow back into the Indus river.
NASA Image acquired September 5, 2010
Flood water, which entered the western districts of Sindh after breaking Tori Bund, hit three sub-districts of Dadu including Mehar, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi. Pressure is now increasing on the embankment to the left of the MNV drain. The embankment is considered to be the last lifeline to protect Dadu and other cities and villages of the taluka.
Meanwhile, according to reports only a one-foot-thin line is left between the Manchhar Lake and River Indus at Morlak. The water level in Hamal Lake has risen to the dangerous level of 13.5 feet and a constant increase has been recorded there, despite the fact that doors have been opened by five feet. The cities of Warah, Naseerabad, Mehar and Radhan are now under threat.
Google maps shows that the Indus highway will be totally cut off, and a huge new island created, in formerly fertile farmland, if waters rise one more foot.
In southern Pakistan, approaching the delta of the Indus, huge lakes have formed where farms, towns and cities used to be.
NASA image acquired September 2, 2010
More rain is falling and more rain is forecast.
Stronger monsoons have been shown by climate models and paleoclimate studies to be associated with warmer waters in the north Indian and west Pacific oceans. This year the water temperatures in those regions are exceptionally warm. Stronger than normal onshore winds, associated with La Nina, have magnified the moisture increasing effect of the warm ocean waters.
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Action Items identified by Laughing Planet
Greg (Three Cups of Tea, Stones Into Schools) Mortenson's non-profit (CAI) recommends supporting a local (Pakistani) group to which donations will likely have a large, immediate, and lasting impact-
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Other groups that deserve support as well.
Doctors without Borders (MSF):
The Red Cross:
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS (1-800-367-5437)
Text: "Text FLOODS to 864233 (UNICEF) to donate $10"
ShelterBox tents in Shishkat upper Hunza, Pakistan
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From the US State dept.
How You Can Help:
Text "FLOOD" to 27722. Your $10 will go to the State Department Fund for Pakistan Relief that Secretary Clinton announced August 19, and is part of a new effort to bring attention to the need for aid.
Text "SWAT" to 50555 ; $10 goes to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees fund for flood victims
We are looking at what may be the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in a century.