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Huge challenge faced by the resolute victims

Since the Indus River began to spill out onto the rice and wheat plains here in southern Pakistan's Sindh province, the Pakistan Fisherman's Forum (PFF) has conducted unknown thousands of rescue operations across the ever-widening flood waters.

"We took 89 families from the villages and farms," said Jawad, a volunteer with PFF, as he points across the rice paddies to a spot on the horizon.


Only now the cropland around the villages and farms is six feet under water, and we are standing on a hastily-piled dyke, made of rock, sand and topsoil.

At our feet the water cascades over the edge of what was a roadway running through the farmland, along which the farmers would ordinarily drive their gaudily-decorated tractors and dirt-encrusted carts, towed by donkey or camel.

Now their only way out is by boat, and Irish aid agency GOAL is partnering with PFF so it can marshall the personnel and resources to get people to dry land, and safety.

However, the water in the southern reaches of Sindh province -- the deep south of Pakistan where the almost-2,000 mile Indus empties into the Arabian Sea -- is continuing to rise.

An order was issued by the Pakistani Government for 500,000 more people to evacuate areas under new threat, as the flooded river, seemingly-immovable, meets the irresistible sea.


There is nowhere for the water to go, but sideways, over the dykes and levees, before covering more homes and land.

For aid workers, it is a massive challenge, given that so much infrastructure has been washed away. How to get shelter to people and/or how to get people to shelter? How to stop the spread of cholera, typhoid, malaria -- while planning how to help get four million homeless people back to their homes once the waters recede?

People here are resolute, however. All along the roads through the province, thousands are on the move with their few possessions, many stop with their families wherever they can find a dry, sheltered location.

Others are in camps run by the Pakistani authorities or by the UN and NGOs.

It brings to mind Martin Luther King's metaphor, that "we must build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear".

Irish journalist Simon Roughneen has travelled to Pakistan to report on the devastating floods