Flood Waters Begin To Recede In Parts Of Pakistan

The massive floods that have devastated large areas of Pakistan continue to inundate southern parts of the country. In other areas of the country, the water is receding. Millions of people are displaced and officials are scrambling to provide relief aid.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The flooding in Pakistan has reached its final stage. On its way down the Indus River, floodwater displaced millions of people. And in the last parts of the river before reaching the Arabian Sea, the high water affected half a million more. NPR's Julie McCarthy traveled through the province of Sindh.

JULIE MCCARTHY: A huge expanse of the delta area that flows into the Arabian Sea is now covered with water.

(Soundbite of water rushing)

MCCARTHY: While floodwaters are beginning to recede in other parts of the country, they continued to rise around us yesterday outside Thatta, a 700-year-old Delta city two hours east of Karachi. Furious residents blocked a road with stones and tree branches in a bid to force the government to stop the breaches in the canals, levees and embankments.

(Soundbite of crowd chatter)

MCCARTHY: The water surged into the town of Sujawal late yesterday, putting the city center under five feet of water. The southern Sindh farming town has been cut off from the rest of the province.

(Soundbite of crowd chatter)

MCCARTHY: Ninety-five percent of the inhabitants of the area had already evacuated. They joined the throngs of evacuees from the city of Thatta and its surrounding villages. They are massed - on roadsides, hillsides, rocks and in cemeteries - by the hundreds of thousands. They are collecting their own firewood. They are sleeping under the stars, their animals tethered to the same rickety canopies that are the only protection families have from the elements. But with the flow of the river decreasing, authorities expect the displaced to begin returning to their flood-ravaged homes within a week.

Julie McCarthy, NPR News, Islamabad.

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