Photo Credit: Akhtar Soomro | Reuters
Pakistan is now facing the effects of the climate crisis as many have fled from their homes, seeking refuge due to the massive flooding in communities. The deadly floods have taken away life by the thousands and have affected more than 33 million people, says the climate change minister of Pakistan.
The Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority reports that 937 people have perished in the face of heavy rain and flooding in the country since mid of June. The minister of climate change, Sherry Rehman, said that the current condition marks Pakistan’s worst humanitarian disaster in the decade. The minister added that the country was taken aback by the frequency of the rains in the country.
“Pakistan is going through its eighth cycle of monsoon while normally the country has only three to four cycles of rain,” Rehman stated. “The percentages of super flood torrents are shocking.”
The south of the country is suffering the most from these rains, but the minister added that help is on the way to the south of Pakistan. Together in the rescue and relief efforts are officers and workers from the Pakistani Army, NDMA, and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. However, even with the efforts, Rehman said that more help is needed since more are seeking refuge from the rains.
For instance, Sindh, a southern Province in Pakistan, required 1 million tents to house millions who the flood has hard hit. Meanwhile, an additional 100,000 tents are needed by the citizens of the neighboring Balochistan province, which had its gas, electricity, and the internet impacted by the rains.
Rehman now calls for help from the international community. “Pakistan’s priority, at the moment, is this climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions,” she said.
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The fight against the climate crisis
The Pakistani Prime Minister told the international community that the country is focusing on rehabilitating the country so it could become climate change resilient in the wake of recent events. Meanwhile, the Planning and Development Minister of Pakistan said that the 30 million affected account for 15% of the country’s population.
A total of 3 million citizens of Pakistan are gravely affected by the monsoons, said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the UN. Over 184,000 of these have to transfer to relief camps due to the damage inflicted by the water to houses.
Unfortunately, the country still has to complete the prerequisites before it can bail out the money it needs for reconstruction from the International Monetary Fund.
According to reports by the NDMA, within just 24 hours, 150 kilometers of the country’s roads have been damaged, and 82,000 homes are partially or fully damaged. Counting since mid-June, the monsoons have already laid their affliction on Pakistan’s 3,000 kilometers of roads, 130 bridges, and 495,000 homes.
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The rain still continues
“Brother, the rain has not stopped for the past three months … We are living in a rickshaw with our children because the roof of our mud house is leaking,” said a woman from Sindh to reporters. The province of Sindh is where the most damage is seen.
“Where can we go? The gutters are overflowing, and our courtyard is filled up with sewage. Our houses and alleys have turned into a floating garbage bin,” the woman added.
OCHA has already issued warnings to extended areas in Pakistan. The agency contends that as of the moment, citizens should be alert for possible floods, overflows of rivers, and landslides. Moreover, the coming days would still be wet for most areas in Pakistan, which is a cause of worry for many.
Sindh’s forecast has broken the annual average. This August alone, the rainfall average increased seven-fold, at 784% more than the usual. Twenty-three districts have declared a weather emergency due to the excessive rains. The neighboring Balochistan has also been hard hit by the rains, with 500% more rainfall in August.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority says that internet and phone services have been suspended as well as electricity and gas. This makes it difficult for rescuers to conduct search operations.