In pictures: Historic floods in Pakistan leave thousands homeless and nearly 100 billion euros in damage

A third of Pakistan has been swallowed up by historic floods.

Authorities estimate that 33 million Pakistanis – one in seven – have been affected by the climate catastrophe, which has claimed the lives of at least 1,136 people since the start of the “monstrous” monsoon in June.

Pakistan is facing “climate blow upon climate blow”, says Arif Jabbar Khan, country director of WaterAid, noting that the country faced scorching heat waves earlier this year.

“It’s quite a big oceanthere is no dry land to pump the water “Literally, a third of Pakistan is under water right now, which has exceeded all boundaries, all standards that we have seen in the past.”

The UN today appealed for $160 million (€159.6 million) to help Pakistan deal with catastrophic floods that have destroyed homes, roads and crops, causing more than 100 billions of dollars in damage, according to the government’s first estimates.

“The people of Pakistan are facing a monsoon on steroids – the relentless impact of historic levels of rain and flooding,” the UN secretary-general said. Antonio Guterres.

With the South Asian country responsible for less than 1% of global emissions – compared to 13% for the United States – the devastating images and reports from Pakistan are an all-time high. climate injusticeprompting calls for much greater action from incumbent issuers to provide immediate relief as well as climate finance.

Floods in Pakistan: is climate change to blame?

Pakistan is used to monsoons and showers, but this year is anything but usual. The rain falls more than 780% above average levels, says Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and a member of Pakistan’s Climate Change Council.

People usually get a little respite from heaven. “It’s also not that prolonged,” Rehman says, “It’s been eight weeks and we’re told we might see another downpour in September.”

Global warming is doing precipitation more intense as warmer air holds more moisture, powerful overload rivers like the Indus.

And Pakistan is hit by another source of flash floods: extreme heat accelerates the melting of the Himalayas glacierssending floodwaters from burst glacial lakes cascading across the country.

Extreme weather conditions the trends are clearly growing in the region, Suleri says, making Pakistan the eighth most vulnerable country to climate change in the world according to the Global Climate Risk Index.

But while scientists agree that the killer floods are “fueled by climate change”, as Massachusetts-based Jennifer Francis puts it, researchers need a few more weeks to calculate its exact role.

How Pakistan’s poor infrastructure made flooding worse

However, the whole problem is not climate change.

Pakistan saw the same flood and the devastation in 2010 that killed nearly 2,000 people. But the government failed to implement flood prevention plans by banning construction and construction of houses in flood-prone areas and in riverbeds, Suleri said.

The disappearance of river banks has endangered many lives. “You can’t predict when they’re going to fail, and people living in an area where they think they’re protected might not expect to have to evacuate,” said Dr Liz Stephens, associate professor of climate risk and resilience at the UK. The University of Reading told the Guardian.

Deforestation could also have increased the speed of rainfall runoff in places, Stephens added.

Aid agencies issue urgent appeal in Pakistan

Along with the UN flash appeal, a number of humanitarian organizations have launched appeals for help from inside Pakistan.

“I saw how whole villages were swept away and submerged,” says Islamic relief around the world CEO Waseem Ahmad, overseeing relief efforts in the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

“I met so many families who fled for their lives minutes before the floods arrived and they lost absolutely everything they owned – their homes were destroyed, their livestock died and their crops were ruined.

Thousands of families line the main roads, he said, gathering on higher ground in the hope of receiving help in the form of food, tents, money and hygiene kits.

WaterAid is also on the ground, having allocated PKR 30 million (over €136,000) for emergency first aid which will go towards disinfection drink water springs, building temporary toilets in schools and camps and helping to evacuate flood waters.

“It is clear that this is a massive humanitarian and climate emergency. Children are still the most affected,” adds Save the Children Pakistan Country Director Khuram Gondal.

A third of those killed in the floods are believed to be children, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said.

Appeals for urgent humanitarian aid were combined with powerful messages about the need for greater climate action.

“As we continue to see more and more extreme weather events around the world, it is outrageous that climate action is being put on the back burner as the planet emissions greenhouse gases continue to rise, putting us all – everywhere – in growing danger,” António Guterres said via video message.

“Let’s stop sleepwalking into the destruction of our planet by climate change.

Today it is Pakistan. Tomorrow it could be your country.

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