Pakistan’s largest freshwater lake overflowed in early September 2022 as devastating floods hit the Indus River Valley. Lake Manchar has had several breaches, both natural and artificial, with the latter made by officials attempting to keep the lake from overflowing catastrophically into densely populated areas. The breaches have put several hundred villages and more than 100,000 residents in the path of floodwaters.
Drenched by extreme summer monsoon rains, Pakistan has faced its worst flooding in a decade. According to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority, more than 1,300 people have died and thousands more have been injured. Hundreds of thousands more have been displaced by the extreme flooding that has destroyed more than 1 million homes.
The natural-color images on this page were acquired by the Operational Land Imagers aboard Landsat 9 on June 25 and August 28, 2022, and aboard Landsat 8 on September 5, 2022. The detailed image (below) shows breaches of the Main Nara Valley Drain, a canal that connects Lake Manchar (visible in the lower part of the image) to Lake Hamal, which lies about 160 kilometers (100 miles) to the north.
The lake lies west of the Indus River in Sindh province, one of the hardest hit by flooding. Sindh has so far this year received more than five times its average rainfall.
With many water systems damaged, government authorities and international relief agencies are concerned about safe access to drinking water, food insecurity, sanitation, and public health. On August 30, the Pakistani government declared a national emergency and, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for international aid for humanitarian relief efforts.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Story by Sara E. Pratt.