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The Indus River


The Indus River is a major river in Asia which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through western Tibet (in the People's Republic of China) and Northern India. Originating in the Tibetan plateau in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar, the river runs a course through the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, towards Gilgit and Baltistan and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh. The total length of the river is 3,180 km (1,980 mi). It is Pakistan's longest river.

The river has a total drainage area exceeding 1,165,000 km2 (450,000 sq mi). Its estimated annual flow stands at around 207 km3 (50 cu mi), making it the twenty-first largest river in the world in terms of annual flow. Zanskar is its left bank tributary in Ladakh. In the plains, its left bank tributary is Chenab which itself has four major tributaries, namely, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas and Satluj. Its principal right bank tributaries are Shyok, Gilgit, Kabul, Gomal and Kurram. Beginning at the heights of the world in a spring and fed with glaciers and rivers in the Himalayas, the river supports ecosystems of temperate forests, plains and arid countryside.

The Indus forms the delta of Pakistan mentioned in the Vedic Rigveda as Sapta Sindhu and the Iranic Zend Avesta as Hapta Hindu (both sets of terms meaning "seven rivers"). The river has been a source of wonder since the Classical Period. King Darius of Persia sent Scylax of Caryanda to explore the river in 510 BC.

Names and etymology
The Sanskrit word Sindhu means river, stream or ocean, probably from a root sidh meaning "to keep off". Sindhu is still the local appellation for the Indus River.

In the Rigveda, "Sindhu" (Sanskrit: सिन्धु) is the name of the Indus river. Sindhu is attested 176 times in the Rigveda, 95 times in the plural, more often used in the generic meaning. In the Rigveda, notably in the later hymns, the meaning of the word is narrowed to refer to the Indus river in particular, for example in the list of rivers of the Nadistuti sukta. This resulted in the anomaly of a river with masculine gender: all other Rigvedic rivers are female, not just grammatically, being imagined as goddesses and compared to cows and mares yielding milk and butter.

The word Sindhu became Hindu in Old Persian. The Ancient Greek Ἰνδός (Indós, borrowed in turn into Latin as Indus) is a borrowing of the Old Iranian word. The name Indós is used in Megasthenes's book Indica for the mighty river crossed by Alexander based on Nearchus's contemporaneous account.

The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians (present-day India beyond the Indus River) as Ἰνδοί (Indói), the people of the Indus. 

In Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, the Indus is known as درياۓ سِندھ (Daryā-e Sindh). In other languages of the region, the river is known as सिन्धु नदी (Sindhu Nadī) in Hindi, سنڌو (Sindhu) in Sindhi, سندھ (Sindh) in Punjabi, સિંધુ નદી (Sindhu) in Gujarati; اباسين (Abāsin, lit. "Father of Rivers") in Pashto, رود سند (Rūd-e Sind) in Persian, نهر السند (Naḥar al-Sind) in Arabic, སེང་གེ།་གཙང་པོ (Sênggê Zangbo, lit. "Lion River") in Tibetan, and Nilab in Turki.

Pollution
Over the years factories on the banks of the Indus River have increased levels of water pollution in the river and the atmosphere around it. High levels of pollutants in the river have led to the deaths of endangered Indus River Dolphin. The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency has ordered polluting factories around the river to shut down under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997. Death of the Indus River Dolphin has also been attributed to fishermen using poison to kill fish and scooping them up.  As a result, the government banned fishing from Guddu Barrage to Sukkur. 

2010 floods
In July 2010, following abnormally heavy monsoon rains, the Indus River rose above its banks and started flooding. The rain continued for the next two months, devastating large areas of Pakistan. In Sindh, the Indus burst its banks near Sukkur on 8 August, submerging the village of Mor Khan Jatoi. In early August, the heaviest flooding moved southward along the Indus River from severely affected northern regions toward western Punjab, where at least 1,400,000 acres (570,000 ha) of cropland was destroyed, and the southern province of Sindh.  As of September 2010[update], over two thousand people had died and over a million homes had been destroyed since the flooding began. 

2011 floods
The 2011 Sindh floods began during the Pakistani monsoon season in mid-August 2011, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in Sindh, eastern Balochistan, and southern Punjab.  The floods caused considerable damage; an estimated 434 civilians were killed, with 5.3 million people and 1,524,773 homes affected.  Sindh is a fertile region and often called the "breadbasket" of the country; the damage and toll of the floods on the local agrarian economy was said to be extensive. At least 1.7 million acres (690,000 ha; 2,700 sq mi) of arable land were inundated. The flooding followed the previous year's floods, which devastated a large part of the country.  Unprecedented torrential monsoon rains caused severe flooding in 16 districts of Sindh. 





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