ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Thousands of people were evacuated overnight from two Pakistani provinces where flood waters broke through river embankments, officials said Sunday.
Evacuations of as many as 10,000 people in the Punjab province and Sindh were overseen by Pakistani troops leading relief efforts in the country's worst flooding in 80 years, Dawn News reported.
About 3 million people have already been evacuated, with many moving to temporary shelters in government buildings, schools and tents.
More than 1,600 people have been killed in the disaster, which has stranded or displaced 12 million people and destroyed crops.
Relief efforts have been hindered by heavy rains that have grounded helicopters needed to deliver food to flood victims, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported Sunday. Boat rescues, too, have been difficult in the deep waters.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Sunday estimated flood damage in the billions of dollars, Dawn News reported.
Floodwaters have followed a more than 600-mile-long trail from as far away as Afghanistan and India, and more heavy rain is expected, which could further damage homes and crops.
Gen. Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of national Disaster Management Authority, warned people in flooded areas against trying to leave on their own.
Gilani surveyed damage in Sukkar Sunday and said the government remained focused on saving lives.
"Millions of people have suffered and still there is more rain and further losses are feared," Gilani told reporters. "The government has done everything possible but it is beyond our capacity. We are facing an extremely difficult situation."
Countries including the United States, Britain and China have pledged tens of millions of dollars since Gilani appealed for help after flooding began about two weeks ago.