MULTAN, Pakistan — Using bulldozers, shovels and their bare hands, soldiers and volunteers worked desperately Wednesday to divert the raging Indus River as the death toll rose to 2,000 in Pakistan's worst flooding.
The government estimated the damage at $1.5 billion and said 2 million acres of productive farmland was washed away.
The floods, which have also killed more than 500 people in India, began devastating three provinces in northern and eastern Pakistan last Friday when three days of monsoon rains caused rivers to overflow their banks.
The floodwaters passed through Punjab, Northwest Frontier and Azad Kashmir provinces and were flowing into the Indus River and toward the southern province of Sind, where half a million residents were being evacuated.
Workers outside Multan struggled to clear away cement walls near the surging Indus to divert floodwaters into fields of cotton and rice.