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Earth-observing satellite documents Pakistan flooding

Enlarge Image credit: NASA/USGS MORE IMAGES

Catastrophic floods from heavy rainfall in Pakistan have now stranded 800,000 people, leaving them accessible only by air, the United Nations announced August 24. The U.N. estimated that 17 million people—nearly 10 percent of the country's population—have now been affected by the floods, and that roughly half of those people likely require humanitarian assistance. The estimated death toll from the tragedy ranges from 1,200 to 1,600 people.

Imagery from the U.S. Geological Survey's Landsat 5 satellite, which has been in orbit since 1984, shows the vast extent of the flooding along Pakistan's swollen Indus River. The left photo was taken August 19; the right image was taken during a July 2009 Landsat 5 flyover. Each image is approximately 120 kilometers wide.

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