- Shameera Sarwar
The aftermath of the Pakistan Flood
In the summer of 2022 Pakistan experienced some of the worst floods ever seen and thousands dying as a result. This was after Pakistan also experienced the worst heatwave it had seen in over a century with both events being linked directly to climate change. But Pakistan has little to no carbon emissions in comparison to the rest of the world, so the real question is what did the world do to Pakistan?
In the summer of 2022, Pakistan and India experienced the highest temperature since 1901 in a heatwave that devastated the two countries with even the northern components of Pakistan, such as Gilgit Baltistan, experiencing above average temperatures causing some of the oldest glaciers to melt. Pakistan is home to more than 72,000 glaciers. As they melted, the level of the Rivera Kunhar, Khunjerab, Nagar, and Hunza rose to new heights. All of these rivers collectively transform into one ‘Gilgit River’ which convenes with the ‘Mighty Indus,’ where the mountains of Karakorum, Himalaya, and the Hindu Kush are believed to meet. This Mighty Indus roams to Sindh and Balochistan. The place where life is already contaminated by heavy rainfalls.
Despite Pakistan emitting less than 1% of the world’s carbon emissions it is now the subject of the full wrath of climate change.
The nation’s loss
In this most widespread flood, almost 1400 people died regrettably including 458 children. More than 1600 are gravely injured. With half a million people being displaced. Flooding has demolished over one million homes. Additionally, 130 bridges were destroyed, and three thousand kilometres of roads subsided.
Authorities warn the government that water could take up to 6 months to recede and according to a survey, around thirty-three million people are affected by the flood.
As it has been stated above, water will take a long time to recede on fertile soil. Which will eventually cause soil erosion. Putting a fruitless crown on the grave of that valuable soil. Further bestowing us with the consequences of loathing water. As a result families are being forced to drink flooded water, there are reportedly 150,000 patients suffering from diarrhoea; more than 100,000 from skin infections and as people are living outside next to open water, more than a hundred cases of snake bites. Thousands of people have been admitted to temporary clinics causing medical teams all over Pakistan to be overloaded to the point where they cannot see every patient. Medicine is also hard to come by for everyone in Pakistan as pharmaceutical companies have run out and struggle to afford more due to price caps.
Scientists predict that in the following year, the level of rainfall will increase. Further the temperature in the Northern area will also continue to reach higher levels causing glaciers to melt further. Temperature is increasing due to greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. After that this water will fall into the oceans or seas. Which cannot be used as a drinking water. If the situation stays like it is today. Eventually cause the loss of pure and potable drinking water. Which is also essential for living organisms. Ending up with water that cannot be used for farming.
Soil erosion in a country like Pakistan will also impact the world. As Pakistan is one of those countries who export a lot of fruits and vegetables. So, we should take this as a warning sign and do activities which are environmentally friendly.
Pakistan at the current moment is political and economically unstable. High inflation, weak economic growth and an unstable political climate which has led to polarisation in Pakistan are some of the problems that the country faces, but with the prospect of an even larger humanitarian crisis due to heatwaves and floods, this is the evidence that the world faces when it comes to climate change. It affects us all in the world, regardless of how much we produce in C02 and whilst it is a scientific problem, it is just as equally a political one. In a world where we might strive to improve, we do not want to risk humanitarian disasters spreading across the world.
We can bring change by helping. Not just with our money or charity, but recycling; lowering our carbon emissions, this is what we can do to prevent things like the horrors in pakistan from spreading across the world and even though we might think of ourselves lucky in the UK, we too are at danger of this, our own heat waves and flooding will become worse and worse without a proper plan by the government, world leaders and ultimately ourselves, to mustered around and unite on this point.
I would suggest that our people need our help. We do not have any relation with them, but still the bonds of humanity will force us to help other people. An old saying in Pakistan is ‘stop the fire until it will reach your house. We need to bring change. If their lives are fading in the dark shadows of climate then we need to bring colours in their life.