|THATTA, Pakistan ? Floodwaters made another break Saturday in the levees protecting the
southern city of Thatta, as thousands of residents fled for high ground and left the city
Both sides of the main road were crowded with people ? from Thatta and nearby flooded
villages ? fleeing the floodwaters. Many had spent the night sleeping out in the open.
Hadi Baksh Kalhoro, a Thatta disaster management official, said more than 175,000 people
had left the city, leaving it nearly deserted.
Some are heading for nearby towns or cities, he said, with thousands also headed for the
high ground of an ancient graveyard for Muslim saints.
He said the latest levee breach, which happened early Saturday, could leave the outskirts of
Thatta flooded by later in the day. The city is about 75 miles (125 kilometers) southeast of
the major coastal city of Karachi.
The floods began in the mountainous northwest about a month ago with the onset of
monsoon rains and have moved slowly down the country toward the coast in the south,
inundating vast swaths of prime agricultural land and damaging or destroying more than 1
More than 8 million people are in need of emergency assistance across the country.
The United Nations, the Pakistani army and a host of local and international relief groups
have been rushing aid workers, medicine, food and water to the affected regions, but are
unable to reach many people.
The new levee breach came as a gunbattle broke out at an office of security forces in the
main city in Pakistan's northwest. The motive behind the attack, in the city of Peshawar,
was not immediately clear, police said.
The shooting began about 6 a.m., and while Pakistani forces had deployed throughout the
area, it continued more than four hours later.
Police official Dost Mohammed said it was unclear who fired at the office, but it came in a
city where militants often target police and security forces.