Pakistan flood threatens historic Mohenjodaro site

Villagers stranded by floods wait to be evacuated in Sanawan near Multan in central Pakistan on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Khalid Tanveer

Tragic history could revisit the world’s first planned city as floods approached ancient Mohenjodaro, the centre of Indus Valley civilization, a UNESCO official said Saturday.

Located on the bank of Indus River in the southern province of Sindh, Mohenjodaro was built around 2400 BC. It was destroyed at least seven times by the floods and rebuilt on the top of ruins each time.

Jawad Aziz, a UNESCO spokesman in Pakistan, said protective spurs may not be able to withstand the swelling river, and “potentially and naturally the flood can prove devastating for the city.” “This year’s floods, greater than any in living memory, may again destroy what remains of the ancient city of Mohenjodaro,” Mr. Aziz said.

Floods triggered by last week’s unusually heavy rains devastated much of the north-western region, and inundated hundreds of villages downstream in central Pakistan.

Mohenjodaro, around 2 kilometres from the river, was discovered by chance during excavations in 1922.

Regarded as the oldest planned city in the world, the site covers an area of about 240 hectares, but so far only 10 per cent of it has been excavated.

UNESCO launched an international campaign to buttress Mohenjodaro against floods that completed in 1997 after an investment of about 8 million dollars.

Five spurs built along the river banks at an average height of 6 metres protected the city during 1992 floods. “Nonetheless, there are concerns that history may repeat itself. And we are regularly monitoring the situation,” Mr. Aziz said.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 6:56:25 PM |

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