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

Swaths of the country are now under siege, after what United Nation officials described as a “monsoon on steroids” brought the heaviest rains in memory and flooding 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 has flooded much of Sindh province in the South.

In the center of the image, a large area of ​​dark blue shows the Indus overflowing and flooding an area about 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide, turning what were once fields into a giant inland lake.

This is a striking change from the image taken by the same satellite on the same date last year, which showed the river and its tributaries contained in what appeared to be comparatively small, narrow bands, showing the extent of harm to one of the country. hardest hit areas.

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

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

Although mostly dry weather is expected in the region in the coming days, experts said the water will take several 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 over, we could have a quarter or one-third of Pakistan under water.”

‘Flood of apocalyptic proportions’

In an interview with CNN Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he had visited Sindh and had seen firsthand how the floods had wiped out entire villages and towns.

“There’s almost any dry land 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 intense heat waves like we saw earlier this year, the scale of the current flood is of apocalyptic proportions . We certainly hope this is not a new climate reality.”

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies from other parts of the country show how entire villages and hundreds of plots of green land have been destroyed by fast-moving floods.

Pictures from Gudpur, a locality in Punjab, show how the flood has damaged homes, and replaced the ground with snaking trails of bare Earth.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday to assess its flood damage.

The province recorded most of the latest deaths after the waters rose sharply, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority said.

Sharif said on Tuesday that the flooding was the “worst in the history of Pakistan” and that international help was needed to deal with the scale of the destruction.

Additional reporting from CNN’s Rachel Ramirez, Angela Dewan, Paul P. Murphy and Jan Camenzind Broomby.