By Imran Khalid

"I have never seen climate carnage on the scale of the floods here in Pakistan. As our planet continues to warm, all countries will increasingly suffer losses and damage from climate beyond their capacity to adapt. This is a global crisis, it demands a global response," wrote U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a tweet at the end of his two-day solidarity trip to Pakistan.

This tweet encompasses the whole situation. Unquestionably, the recent visit by Guterres is expected to help Pakistan greatly in highlighting the devastating impact the recent floods have had on the country. The 33 million people impacted by the catastrophic floods, which have caused an estimated $30 billion worth of damages, cannot be explained in words.

The scale of the colossal devastation is unimaginable. More than half a million more houses in Pakistan were reported damaged or destroyed in the past week, with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reporting that more than 1.17 million houses have been damaged and nearly 566,000 destroyed as of Sept. 8.

The devastation is of biblical proportions. The NDMA reports that some 33 million people have been affected by the heavy rains and floods and it has officially declared 81 districts as "calamity-hit:" 32 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, 17 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Gilgit-Baltistan and three in Punjab. Some 664,000 people are reportedly living in relief camps. Many more are reportedly living with host communities.

This data shows the numbers only and it does not explain the actual human tragedy that is being witnessed in each household affected by these massive floods and horrendous monsoon rains. No estimate can capture even a fraction of the human cost of the tragedy that continues to unfold in the affected parts of the country. These unusual and unprecedented floods are directly correlated to the changing climate patterns due to greenhouse gases being emitted by industrialized nations.

Against this backdrop, a sense of injustice is being seriously felt in many countries. Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent of the global greenhouse gases, which are raising the temperature of our planet, but its geography makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change. Even Guterres has articulated his assessment that there is "no memory of anything similar to what has happened with the impact of climate change in Pakistan."

Global warming is making air and sea temperatures rise, leading to more evaporation. Warmer air can hold more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense. Scientists predict that the average rainfall in the summer monsoon season will increase due to climate change. But Pakistan has something else that makes it susceptible to the effects of climate change ― its immense glaciers. With 7,253 known glaciers, the highest amount outside the polar region.

That's why it is sometimes called "the third pole." Those glaciers feed rivers that account for about 75 percent of the stored-water supply in a country of at least 220 million people. But global warming has intensified the melting process of these glaciers, a situation that has further aggravated the worst floods in Pakistan this century. The intense heat also melted glaciers in the northern mountainous regions, increasing the amount of water flowing into tributaries, which eventually makes its way into the Indus River.

So, Pakistan is suffering through no fault of its own. Global warming is the main culprit that has brought about the devastation in the country. The real challenge for Pakistan ― and the international community ― will be based on how to deal with this massive devastation and the looming humanitarian crisis. Guterres is making very sincere efforts to mobilize the international community to help Pakistan in tackling this unforeseen catastrophe.

Pakistan and the United Nations have joined hands to launch the 2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan with an appeal for $160 million for flood-hit people so as to provide them relief and rehabilitate them, which is still very little compared to estimated damages of $30 billion. Many countries and organizations are engaged in humanitarian assistance for the flood-hit people in Pakistan.

In addition to this, Pakistani people, known for their philanthropy and generosity, are making all-out efforts to provide relief goods to their fellow citizens in flood-stricken areas. Innumerable charitable organizations, philanthropist individuals as well as the armed forces are working together to provide relief goods to the affected people. For a cash strapped-country, these floods have created huge economic problems.

The restructuring and rehabilitation of one-third of Pakistan needs massive and generous support from the international community, which is still missing. Yes, some countries have started sending relief goods, but that is too small to create any impact, they are minuscule in relation to the level of damage. The volume of international support is very disappointing, factually speaking.

Despite the vehement and emotional appeals by Guterres, there is very little awareness about the significant flood damage in Pakistan. The international community needs generously to give debt relief and financial assistance to help Pakistan come out of this humanitarian and economic crisis quickly.

A gigantic uphill task lies ahead both for the Pakistan government and the international community, as well as for charitable organizations, philanthropists and Pakistan's friends, for the rehabilitation of the people. There is a need for a holistic plan with a multi-pronged approach covering the thematic clusters of food security, agriculture, health, education, nutrition, shelter, sanitation and hygiene.

Guterres did not mince words while appealing for generous financial support for recovery and relief operations and rehabilitation of the affected people and damaged infrastructure. The international community and the U.N. need to come forward with a tangible and sustainable solution to support Pakistan in these testing times. Pakistan is a resilient nation, but it needs reassurance from the international community regarding support and assistance in order to recuperate from this disaster quickly.


Dr. Imran Khalid (immhza6@gmail.com) is a freelance contributor based in Karachi, Pakistan. The views expressed in the above article are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial direction of The Korea Times.


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Floods in Pakistan: looming humanitarian crisis

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26.09.2022

By Imran Khalid

"I have never seen climate carnage on the scale of the floods here in Pakistan. As our planet continues to warm, all countries will increasingly suffer losses and damage from climate beyond their capacity to adapt. This is a global crisis, it demands a global response," wrote U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a tweet at the end of his two-day solidarity trip to Pakistan.

This tweet encompasses the whole situation. Unquestionably, the recent visit by Guterres is expected to help Pakistan greatly in highlighting the devastating impact the recent floods have had on the country. The 33 million people impacted by the catastrophic floods, which have caused an estimated $30 billion worth of damages, cannot be explained in words.

The scale of the colossal devastation is unimaginable. More than half a million more houses in Pakistan were reported damaged or destroyed in the past week, with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reporting that more than 1.17 million houses have been damaged and nearly 566,000 destroyed as of Sept. 8.

The devastation is of biblical proportions. The NDMA reports that some 33 million people have been affected by the heavy rains and floods and it has officially declared 81 districts as "calamity-hit:" 32 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, 17 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Gilgit-Baltistan and three in Punjab. Some 664,000 people are reportedly living in relief camps. Many more are reportedly living with host communities.

This data shows the numbers only and it does not explain the actual human tragedy that is being witnessed in each........

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