One-third of Pakistan has been completely submerged by historic flooding over the past month, Pakistani authorities revealed.
Devastating flash floods have washed away roads, homes and crops – leaving a trail of deadly havoc across Pakistan.
“It’s all one big ocean, there’s no dry land to pump the water out,” the country’s climate minister Sherry Rehman said, calling it a “crisis of unimaginable proportions.”
The summer rain is the heaviest recorded in a decade and is blamed by the government on climate change.
“Literally, one-third of Pakistan is underwater right now, which has exceeded every boundary, every norm we’ve seen in the past,” Ms Rehman told AFP news agency.
According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the devastating flooding has affected 33 million people, or nearly 15% of the population.
More than 1,130 people have been murdered since the monsoon season began in June, with at least 75 deaths in the last 24 hours and an estimated 1 million dwellings have been destroyed. The damages are estimated to exceed more than $10 billion according to Pakistan’s top climate minister, Sherry Rehman.
“More than 100 bridges and some 3,000 km of roads have been damaged or destroyed, nearly 800,000 farm animals have perished, and two million acres of crops and orchards have been hit,” the United Nations’ World Food Program noted.
This will increase food insecurity across the country and will have a severe impact on the economy. The scale of flooding has impeded access for emergency groups seeking to get aid to the neediest.
Wealthy countries are responsible for climate change, but the poor will suffer most
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres said Pakistan’s flooding, caused by weeks of unprecedented monsoon rains and compounded by glacial meltwater running down from the mountains, were a signal to the world to step up action against climate change.
Antonio Guterres urged the world to come to Pakistan’s aid as he launched a $160m appeal to help the tens of millions affected in the disaster. He blamed “the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding”.
Climate change makes extreme weather more likely in Pakistan, just as it does around the world. The country is one of many bearing the brunt of global warming despite having contributed very little to global carbon emissions.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
Early estimates put the damage from Pakistan’s recent deadly floods at more than $10 billion, its planning minister said, adding the world has an obligation to help the South Asian nation cope with the effects of man-made climate change.
Pakistani leaders have appealed to the international community for help and plan to launch an international appeal fund. The foreign affairs ministry said Turkey had sent a team to help with rescue efforts.
The recent United Nations Climate Summit held in Glasgow, Scotland, revealed big pressure from poor countries to pay for increased damage from global warming. They noted the increasing strong storms, hurricanes, droughts and floods affecting their people.
In the same context, Reuters quoted, on Oct 2021, Harjit Singh, adviser to the Climate Action Network and participant in the COP climate negotiations (COP 26).
So far, negotiations had focused on the inclusion of words such as “loss and damage” in the official text of the Summit Convention. It is a polite way of describing the difficult process of guiding rich countries, which bear responsibility for the majority of historic carbon emissions, to compensate poor countries devastated by storms, floods, droughts and fires.
Global Rights Watch (GRW) expresses full solidarity with the brotherly Pakistani people and the casualties’ families, and calls for the international community to help relief those affected by these floods.
GRW also stresses that international cooperation is needed to confront this growing climate crisis.