Pakistan, which is plagued by political and economic crisis, is under the influence of floods. The question has arisen, suddenly why the country’s flood situation has become so dire? Experts say that Pakistanis are witnessing the final form of adverse effects of climate change. However, the locals blame the construction of buildings on the banks of the river and the unplanned urbanization of the government.
The government of Pakistan says that one-third of the country’s area is currently under water. Hundreds of thousands of people in different provinces have become waterlogged. Roads, houses and crops were swept away by flood water. According to the government, 3.3 million people have been affected by the floods, which is 15 percent of the country’s total population. The situation is so dire that ordinary people are asking for help by throwing notes in plastic bags.
The hilly regions of the country are worst off. Thousands of people living in mountainous areas have been ordered to evacuate. The authorities are trying to rescue the trapped people with the help of a helicopter. The ongoing floods in Pakistan have broken all previous records. The Pakistani government has said that more than 1500 people have died in the floods so far. A ‘National Emergency’ has already been declared across the country due to the floods.
Why this flood took a terrible form?
Last week, the Swat River overflowed and flooded the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Charsadda and Nowshehra districts of the province are particularly affected. Later flood water also entered the surrounding area. Pakistani authorities say the country is seeing its heaviest rainfall in more than three decades. Pakistan’s climate minister Sherry Rehman said that in other years, the monsoon season goes through three to four cycles of rain, but this year the eighth cycle of rain is going on.
Pakistan paying the price of climate change?
The government of Pakistan has termed this incessant rain as an extreme climate-related humanitarian crisis. The country’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is informing the diplomats of different countries about the natural disaster in his country. He claims that his country has to pay a big price for climate change.
Experts say that all the effects of climate change and global warming are visible in Pakistan. Abid Qayyum Suleri, a member of the country’s climate council, said Pakistan has seen the highest rainfall in the last three decades. It rained 780 percent more than the normal rainfall. Balochistan and Sindh provinces received more than 400 percent rainfall, which turned into floods. Pointing out that the weather is having an adverse effect on the whole world, he said that Pakistan is no exception.
Mohsin Hafeez, a Lahore-based climate expert, said that Pakistan is in the eighth position among the countries at risk due to climate change. Experts have already been warning about heavy rains, temperature or fire and melting of ice at an alarming level about Pakistan. Therefore, they see the ongoing flood as the effect of the terrible disaster of climate change.
Another important factor in climate change is temperature. Temperatures like heavy rains have taken a terrible form in Pakistan. Last May, the temperature was continuously recorded above 45 degrees Celsius in the country.
According to the scientists of World Weather Attribution, a meteorological research institute, Pakistan witnessed extreme heat wave in April. Due to climate change, the risk of such heat waves has increased 30 times. As the temperature rises, so does the humidity, which later acts as a deadly factor during floods.
Michael Oppenheimer, a climate expert at Princeton University, said heavy rains and storms around the world have become more severe than ever before. According to a study published by the UK Meteorological Department, India and Pakistan set record temperatures in 2010. But this region can see such temperature once every three years. And at the root of it is climate change.
Unplanned urbanization is also responsible?
While government officials blame climate change for the floods, many blame the mismanagement of local administrations for causing so much damage. In 2010, floods in Pakistan killed nearly 2,000 people. But even then, the local government has not taken any steps to prevent floods. Abid Qayyum Suleri, a member of the Pakistan Climate Council, said that the administration has not taken any measures to stop the construction of houses or buildings on the banks of the river.
Pakistan is already reeling from the Corona pandemic, political change, high inflation, currency devaluation and budget deficit. On top of that, floods have been added as a new economic and humanitarian crisis. According to a report by the international media Bloomberg, Pakistan is in danger of economic loss of at least 10 billion dollars. The central bank of Pakistan has already warned that it will have a disastrous effect on the agricultural sector. The government of Pakistan has appealed for international aid on an urgent basis to deal with this terrible flood.