A mill that used to export red rice from Pakistan to the Far East and Persian Gulf countries has almost disappeared below the surface of the Arabian Sea. UPI Next/Tehmina Qureshi
April 2, 2014
KARACHI, Pakistan, April 2 (UPI Next) -- The intrusion of the Arabian Sea into the mouth of the Indus River on Pakistan's southern coast is eroding land, forcing whole villages to relocate inland, and threatening fishing livelihoods, residents and environmental experts say.
The sea’s intrusion into the once-thriving Indus Delta in the coastal Thatta district occurs mainly because the Indus River does not carry enough water below the Kotri Barrage, a major dam 190 miles north of the coast, to hold back the saltwater from the river and its network of creeks and mudflats. The seawater intrusion turns fields and underground drinking water saline, makes land waterlogged and reduces fish catch.
Mohammad Saleem, a lifelong Keti Bunder resident, watches daily as the sea erodes the earthen dike, near his wooden house.
"We had to move here and set up our village all over again because the sea had entered our village over there," he said.
Houses are set on posts 2 feet off the ground.
"Around 80 acres of land have been eroded by the sea in Thatta district alone. There used to be seven ports here but all of them were destroyed by the encroaching sea," Alwani, a member of the Sindh assembly, told UPI Next.
Though no official records exist, 34 of the sub-district's 42 settlements have disappeared under the sea, said Zahid Jalbani, a program manager at Strengthening Participatory Organization, which specializes in development advocacy.