Heritage sites in Pakistan’s Sindh province ravaged by floods: Report

Islamabad: Iconic vestiges such as the ‘Mound of the Dead’ in Mohenjo-Daro and Kot Diji, the last surviving bastions of the centuries-old Indus Valley Civilisation, situated in Pakistan’s Sindh province, were damaged by the unprecedented floods that have wreaked havoc across the country, a media report said on Wednesday.

According to the data released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA), the death toll in the floods in Pakistan touched 1,162 on Wednesday, with 3,554 injured and over 33 million displaced.

The Mound of the Dead, one of Mohenjo-Daro’s most iconic historical sites, and one of the few surviving bastions of the Indus Valley Civilisation, was covered in blue tarpaulin, as workers scrambled to prevent water from seeping down into the unexcavated part of the site, the Dawn newspaper said.

Mohenjo-Daro is an archaeological site situated in Pakistan’s Sindh province, built around 2,500 BCE, and is one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation.

It was designated ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in 1980.

In Larkana, which saw the heaviest downpours in the region, the Shah Baharo and Tajjar buildings were inundated with rain water overflowing from sewage lines, the report said.

The famous Mian Noor Mohammad Kalhoro graveyard (in Moro), along with several graves, including six tombs have been deteriorated due to the relentless downpour, it said.

Another ancient site at Kot Diji, is lying submerged under four to five feet of stagnant water, the report said, quoting an official.

“Kot Diji has all but collapsed, as have the walls of Ranikot,” Hamid Akhund, the secretary of Endowment Fund Trust for the Preservation of Heritage of Sindh, said in the report.

Whatever we have restored has been damaged. There is not a single place left in Sindh where heritage remains intact; be it Kot Diji, Ranikot, Shahi Mahal, White Palace, Faiz Mahal, the historic imam bargahs, bungalows or public dispensaries,” Akhund said.

The Buddhist stupa at Thul Mir Rukan in Sindh province was partially damaged due to the heavy downpour, while Makli monuments in Thatta and Banbhore both internationally renowned archeological sites — also did not escape the fury of the heavy seasonal rains, it said.

As Pakistan’s cash-strapped government and international organisations ramp up efforts to rehabilitate more than 33 million displaced, heritage and archaeological sites across the country also need immediate attention.

Sindh province is the hardest hit region in flood-hit Pakistan, getting a whopping 466 per cent more rain for the month of August than the last 30-year average, a report in the Dawn newspaper said.

Swollen rivers flowing from the north have breached the banks in Sindh province as millions have been displaced and left acres of fertile farmlands under water.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who visited the flood-hit regions in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said his government has earmarked PKR 15 billion for Sindh province, one of the worst-hit provinces.

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