Pakistan is currently facing its worst flooding in history. More than a third of Pakistan has been flooded with over 30 million people affected already, representing around 15 percent of the South Asian country’s population.
Words by Aisha Kabir
The melting glaciers and unprecedented monsoon rains that started in June inundated more than a third of Pakistan and severely damaged houses, roads, bridges, rail networks, animals, and crops.
Since June, over a thousand people have been pronounced dead and this number is only going to increase seeing as the floods continue to destroy more and more of Pakistan’s land and its people.
There is an urgent need for aid in Pakistan right now due to the floods destroying crops and shelter with more than a million being rendered homeless as a result of this.
With over 1.5 million homes destroyed or damaged, 5,000 km of roads lost and over 700,00 livestock gone, the minister of finance, Miftah Ismail, assessed the entire loss at $10 billion despite the ongoing economic crisis.
As water levels continue to rise, naturally waterborne diseases are more likely than ever to occur and spread, as most sanitation is being submerged underwater. Motor neurone disease (also known as ALS) is one the diseases, which will leave individuals with severe symptoms such as muscle weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing.
The Pakistani economy is already grappling with rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves and soaring inflation, which reached a five-decade high of 27.3 percent in August.
Several countries have shown their support for Pakistan. According to officials, over 50 special planes bearing supplies have already arrived in the nation, with more anticipated in the following days.
The yearly monsoon season in Pakistan brings with it tremendous, frequently catastrophic rains that are essential for agriculture and water supply. While rapidly melting glaciers in the north have put additional strain on streams for months, downpours as heavy as this years’ have not been witnessed in decades.
Pakistan is ninth on a list of nations most susceptible to severe weather brought on by climate change but contributing less than 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Both devastating flash floods in rivers in the hilly north and a steady build-up of water in the southern plains have been caused by the relentless rain.
According to the meteorological bureau, Pakistan has gotten five times as much rain in 2022 as is typical. Since the monsoon season started in June, Padidan, a tiny hamlet in Sindh province, has received more than 1.8 metres (71 inches) of rain.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for “huge” international help for Pakistan.
Guterres made the request shortly after arriving in Pakistan’s capital on Friday morning, when he was met by Hina Rabbani Khar, the state minister for foreign affairs.
“I have arrived in Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here. I appeal for massive support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe,” Guterres tweeted shortly after his arrival.
Later, the UN Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other important officials.
On Saturday 17th September, the UN Secretary-General will travel to the places most affected by the climate disaster.
Marriyam Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s communications and broadcasting minister, said the UN chief’s visit will help spotlight the challenges faced by flood victims on a worldwide scale and “sensitise the world” to the implications of climate change.
The catastrophic floods have also wreaked havoc on Mohenjo Daro, a renowned 4,500-year-old ancient monument in the south-eastern Sindh province that UNESCO has listed as a World Heritage site.
The UN has already launched an urgent appeal to raise $160m to help Pakistan.