Authorities in flood-hit Pakistan strategically breached the country’s largest freshwater lake on Sunday, a minister said, displacing up to 100,000 people from their homes but saving more densely populated areas from gathering floodwater.

Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountains have brought floods that have affected 33 million people and killed at least 1,290, including 453 children. The inundation, blamed on climate change, is still spreading.

Manchar Lake, which is used for water storage, had already reached dangerous levels, and the increased pressure posed a threat to surrounding areas in the country’s southern Sindh province, Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro said.

He said about 100,000 people would be affected by the breach in five councils, but it would help save more populated clusters and also help reduce water levels in other, harder-hit areas.

“By inflicting the breach we have tried to save Sehwan town. Water levels on Johi and Mehar towns in Dadu district would be reduced by this breach in the lake,” Shoro told Reuters on Sunday.

It was not clear how many of the 100,000 asked to leave their homes would actually do so.

Aside from historic rainfall, southern Pakistan has had to contend with increased flooding as a surge of water flowed down the Indus River.

WATCH | Flood evacuee describes shelter’s miserable conditions: 

‘It would have been better to drown’: Pakistan flood evacuee

The massive flooding in Pakistan has displaced many residents from their homes, and while some have taken to finding shelters where they can, the living conditions in some of the shelters have demoralized evacuees.

The country has already received nearly three times the 30-year average rainfall in the quarter through August, totalling 390.7 millimetres. Sindh province, with a population of 50 million, was hardest hit, getting 464 per cent more rain than the 30-year average.

Being downstream on the Indus river, the southern parts of the country have witnessed swelling river waters flowing from the north. Pakistan’s limited dams and reservoirs are already overflowing and cannot be used to stop downstream flows.

WATCH | Rebuilding could take 5 years: 

Pakistan flood copy.jpg?crop=1

Damage in deadly Pakistan flooding exceeds $10B US, officials say

Pakistan’s climate chief says a third of the country is underwater after monsoon floods damaged nearly one million homes and killed more than 1,000 people.

Tarbela dam in the northwest, has been at capacity for weeks, according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) data.

Downstream in Sindh, barrages are under pressure with the Indus river in high flood level, the NDMA said in its latest situation report.

PHOTOS | 3.3 million people in Pakistan affected by floods, more than 1,200 dead


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