Pakistan floods: What you need to know

Food is in short supply after water covered millions of acres of crops and wiped out hundreds of thousands of livestock. Meanwhile, aid agencies have warned of an increase in infectious diseases, leaving millions vulnerable to what the United Nations calls “monsoon on steroids.

More than 1,100 people have died from floods since mid-June, nearly 400 of them children, while millions have been displaced, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Pakistan, already grappling with political and economic uncertainties, has been thrown on the front lines of a man-made climate crisis.

Here’s what you need to know.

Why are floods so bad?

The monsoon season in Pakistan usually brings downpours, but this year has been the wettest year since records began in 1961, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Torrential monsoon rains – 10 times heavier than normal – have caused the Indus River to overflow, creating a lake tens of kilometers long, tens of kilometers wide, according to images from ESA on August 30.

inside southern According to the NDMA, in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces, rainfall was 500% above average as of August 30, submerging entire villages and farmland, leveling buildings and wiping out crops.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of the world’s planet-warming gases, but the country is the eighth most vulnerable country to the climate crisis, according to the Global Climate Risk Index. Global Climate Risk Index.

And it comes at a steep price – the South Asian country faces extreme climate conditions this year, from heat wave record to destructive floods – when the climate crisis exacerbates extreme weather events.
Houses are surrounded by flood water in Jaffarabad, a district of Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, on September 1, 2022.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned the world is “sleepwalking” into environmental destruction.

“South Asia is one of the world’s global climate crisis hotspots. People living in these hotspots are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts,” Mr. Guterres said on 30/30/. 8 said.

& # 39;  Departure & # 39;  Melting glaciers from Pakistan have tripled this year and flooding is getting worse

“As we continue to see more and more extreme weather events around the world, it is infuriating that climate action is coming to the fore as greenhouse gas emissions around the world continue to grow. the world is still growing, making all of us – everywhere – increasingly dangerous,” he added.

Pakistan is also home to more glaciers than anywhere outside the polar regions. But as the climate warms, it becomes more vulnerable to sudden outbreaks of melting glacier water.

What are the damages so far?

Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif 30 said the flooding was “the worst in the history of the country” and estimated the disaster had caused more than $10 billion in damage to infrastructure, homes and farms.

More than 33 million people have been affected, or about 15% of the population, according to Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman on August 25. More than 1 million homes were damaged or destroyed, while at least 5,000 kilometers of roads were damaged, according to the NDMA.

Flooding affected 2 million acres of crops and killed more than 794,000 livestock across Pakistan, according to a status report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on August 26.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 800 health facilities were damaged throughout the country, of which 180 were completely damaged, leaving millions of people without access to health care. health and medical treatment, as reported in many affected districts.

How does it affect people in Pakistan?

Pakistan is facing two food and health crises due to unprecedented floods.

According to charity Action against hungerThe country’s 27 million people did not have enough food before the floods hit, and now the risk of widespread starvation is even more imminent.
The Alkhidmat Foundation distributes food bags at a makeshift camp in Sindh province, Pakistan on September 1, 2022.

“Our priority right now is to help save and protect lives as the water continues to rise. The scale of these floods has caused incredible levels of devastation – crops washed away and livestock washed away. killed across large swaths of the country, synonymous with famine, said Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the Disaster Emergencies Committee, a UK-based aid alliance.

Prime Minister Sharif said on August 30 that people were facing food shortages and that the prices of basic commodities such as tomatoes and onions had “sprung up”.

“I have to feed my people. Their bellies can’t be empty,” Sharif said.

The WHO has also ranked Pakistan’s worst floods on record as a “highest” emergency, warning the disease is spreading rapidly due to a lack of access to medical assistance.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on August 31 of new outbreaks of diarrhea, skin infections, respiratory infections, malaria and dengue fever as a result of the floods, while Many water-borne diseases also pose health risks.

Newborn babies lie in bed after their home was flooded in Pakistan's Sindh province, on September 1, 2022.

What is being done?

According to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a National Flood Coordination and Response Center has been established as the country is dealing with floods.

The United Nations has issued a $160 million appeal to reach 5.2 million most vulnerable people in the country, while WHO also released 10 million USD to treat the injured, provide medical facilities and prevent the spread. of infectious diseases.
Pakistani army rescues flood affected people in the heavily affected Sindh province on September 1, 2022.

China’s consul general in Karachi said two Chinese military planes carrying tents and other flood aid landed in Karachi on August 30. China has pledged $14.5 million in aid to Pakistan, while the British government also announced a 1.5 million pound ($1.73 million) contribution to relief efforts.

Prime Minister Sharif told CNN on August 30 the country is negotiating with Moscow over wheat imports without violating Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sharif said that while Pakistan has secured 1 million tonnes of wheat amid a global shortage, the country will need more due to the impact of floods on the agricultural sector – which is the cause. almost 40% of employment, according to World Bank data.

Sophia Saifi, Angela Dewan, Rachel Ramirez and Kara Fox of CNN contributed to this report.

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