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Pakistan Floods, ‘Climate Catastrophe of the Decade’, Claim More Than 1,000 Lives

by Martina Igini Asia Aug 29th 20222 mins
Pakistan Floods, ‘Climate Catastrophe of the Decade’, Claim More Than 1,000 Lives

Pakistan floods have killed more than 1,000 people and displaced millions since mid-June, causing widespread damage and threatening the country’s economic recovery.

Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh – three of Pakistan’s four provinces – have experienced record-breaking rainfall this summer, with the latter receiving almost eight times the average amount expected in August.

“We left our homes in a hurry and could not gather all the supplies to cook”, a survivor of the floods told the BBC. “Some days we are able to eat, some days we have nothing.

More than 1,000 people have lost their lives and nearly one million homes have been damaged, displacing more than 30 million people or about 15% of the population. The flooding is the worst to hit the country in at least a decade.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is working to distribute shelter material, and water purification units to guarantee access to safe drinking water. Pakistan is also dealing with malaria and dengue disease outbreaks, rising health concerns among the millions displaced.

In an interview with the Financial Times, climate change and environment minister Sherry Rehman described Pakistan’s floods as “the climate catastrophe of the decade”, claiming that “in living memory, [the country] has not seen such a biblical flood”. 

You might also like: Climate Change Made Deadly Indian Heatwave 30-100 Times More Likely

The country was hit by an early and prolonged heatwave in April. The sudden shift from winter to summer temperatures left crops without the opportunity for effective germination. Now, Pakistan’s floods have washed away huge parts of harvested crops and compromised the little that was left after an extremely challenging year in terms of climate. 

Pakistan floods are just the latest of the climate change-induced catastrophes that have hit the South Asian nation in recent months, adding to its financial distress and threatening its economic recovery.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to approve a US$1.2 billion disbursement, a deal hailed by Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif last week as the nation seeks to avert a balance of payment crisis.

The foreign minister said Pakistan needs financial help to deal with the “overwhelming floods” and hopes that financial institutions will take the massive economic fallout into account – Reuters reported.

You might also like: Floods in Pakistan: An Announced Tragedy?

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is the Managing Editor at Earth.Org. She holds two BA degrees, in Translation/Interpreting Studies and Journalism, and a MA in International Development from the University of Vienna. After working at the United Nations Global Communication Department in Vienna, she joined a newspaper in Italy as a reporter before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. Her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection with a focus on developing countries.

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