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'A third underwater': Pakistan is a big loser in the climate crisis

‘A third underwater’: Pakistan is a big loser in the climate crisis

According to the German development and environment organization Germanwatch, Pakistan ranks eighth among the countries most threatened by severe weather events. The government in Islamabad sees its country as a victim of the irresponsible environmental policies of other countries, which it holds responsible for climate change.

Today, Tuesday, the authorities said that the authorities expect more deaths in the current flood disaster, as hundreds of mountain villages in the north of the country remain cut off from the outside world. Even Pakistani military helicopters are having a hard time landing in the badlands. Rescue work in the largely flooded Sindh province in the south was just as difficult. In addition, the Indus River, the most important river of Pakistan, threatened to blow up its banks. Fear of a new heavy rain is great.

AFP / Zahid Hussain

Sohbatpur city in Balochistan is surrounded by water

Damage has already reached about ten billion dollars

The annual monsoon season usually lasts from June to September. It plays a very important role in agriculture and water supply, but the monsoons also cause devastating floods again and again.

According to the disaster management agency, more than a million homes have been damaged by the recent floods. Nearly 3,500 km of roads were destroyed and about 160 bridges collapsed. According to estimates by the Ministry of Planning, the damage to the Pakistani economy is about ten billion dollars (about ten billion euros).

Environmental disaster in Pakistan ‘horrific’

After severe floods in Pakistan, the full extent of the disaster is slowly becoming clear. According to the government, the country needs the equivalent of more than ten billion euros to repair and rebuild damaged infrastructure. Climate Minister Sherry Rehman said a third of Pakistan was under water. More than 33 million people, one out of every seven Pakistani citizens, have been affected by the floods. Rahman went on to describe the environmental disaster as “catastrophic.”

Exceptional heat wave

Natural disasters such as floods, droughts and landslides have increased in Pakistan in recent years, and air quality has declined. Climate experts attribute this phenomenon to climate change, but also to the proximity to highly industrialized countries such as China and India.

Arid landscapes of Jacobabad

Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

In the spring, there was a heat wave and an unusually early drought

The country of 220 million people was hit by an unusually early spring heat wave. Temperatures exceeded 40 degrees in the area. Spring precipitation in Pakistan and India is 60 percent lower than normal.

A man and a girl on a flooded street in Hyderabad

Reuters

In Hyderabad, a man and a girl navigate the streets on a self-made boat

However, according to the meteorological service, there has already been twice the usual amount of rain across Pakistan this year due to the extremely heavy monsoon rains. In the southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, rainfall has been more than four times the average over the past three decades.

One in seven is affected by floods

According to Climate Minister Rehman, about a third of Pakistan is under water this time. According to the authorities, more than 33 million people – more than one in seven of the country’s population – have been affected by the floods. Rahman spoke of a crisis of “unimaginable proportions”. More than a million homes and many agricultural areas were destroyed or severely damaged, and many roads and bridges were swept away.

A woman in front of her house surrounded by floods in Subatpur

Reuters /

A woman trying to dry her belongings

Rahman said on Monday the whole thing is a big “ocean”. There is no longer a place to pump water. “This is no longer the normal monsoon – it is a climatic dystopia on our doorstep,” the minister told AFP. The economic costs are also devastating.

Emergency tents in Sharsada

Reuters / Fayez Aziz

Flood victims in emergency shelters

Sharif: It hasn’t rained like it’s been in 30 years

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan has not experienced such heavy rains in the past 30 years. The government in Islamabad declared a state of emergency and requested international assistance. The first aid flights arrived from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and countries such as Canada, Australia and Japan pledged their support.

People walking in the flood waters in Nowshera

Reuters / Fayez Aziz

Nowshera residents struggle to navigate flooded streets

The United Nations, along with the Pakistani government, presented an initial six-month aid plan in Geneva on Tuesday. This requires $116 million (about 116 million euros), said OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke. The United Nations called on its member states to donate. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called for more emergency aid.

Pakistan: devastating floods

More than 1,100 people have died in the devastating floods in Pakistan. The Civil Protection Authority said nearly 400 of them were children. It is said that about half a million people are homeless. According to Climate Minister Sherry Rehman, a third of the country is under water.

Guterres said in a video message that about $160 million should be made available quickly. This will ensure food, water, sanitation, emergency schools and health care for the 5.2 million affected people. Guterres called for greater efforts to combat the climate crisis. “Let’s stop our sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet. Today is Pakistan. In Austria, Diakonie and Caritas called for donations.

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