Pakistan fears floods could put one-third of country underwater
Pakistan urges international help after the recent floods have killed more than a thousand and displaced more than 33 million people.
Pakistan’s government has called for urgent international help to address the flooding emergency that has killed more than 1,000 people and threatens to leave a third of the country underwater.
Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that floods caused by weeks of extreme monsoonal rainfall and melting glaciers would have detrimental effects on the country's dire economic situation, adding that financial aid was needed.
“Going forward, I would expect not only the International Monetary Fund, but the international community and international agencies to truly grasp the level of devastation,” he said, adding, "I haven’t seen destruction of this scale, I find it very difficult to put into words ... it is overwhelming,” emphasizing the fact that many crops that are responsible for much of the population’s livelihoods had been wiped out.
While the country faces high inflation, a current account deficit, and a depreciating currency, Bhutto-Zardari hoped the flooding emergency would convince this week's IMF’s board to release $1.2bn as part of the 7th and 8th tranches of Pakistan’s bailout program.
The floods have killed at least 1,061 people so far, and the toll is set to rise further. Meanwhile, the army’s helicopters were struggling to rescue people in the north, where valleys and steep hills make for dangerous flying conditions.
This came as Pakistan's climate minister warned that one-third of the country could be underwater by the time the “monster monsoon” recedes.
Pakistan senator and federal minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, said the country was “at ground zero of the frontline of extreme weather events”.
Pakistan has never seen an unbroken cycle of monsoons like this.8 weeks of non-stop torrents have left huge swathes of the country under water.This is no normal season,this is a deluge from all sides, impacting 33 million plus people,which is the size of a small country. @dwnews pic.twitter.com/gYAbv9ldlH— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) August 28, 2022
“We could well have one-fourth or one-third of Pakistan underwater,” she said, noting that Pakistan was experiencing a “serious climate catastrophe, one of the hardest in the decade”.
“We are at the moment at the ground zero of the frontline of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events and now the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking non-stop havoc throughout the country,” she said.
Climate change effects
Rehman said on Sunday that the warming climate was leading the glaciers in mountainous northern regions to melt faster than usual, aggravating the impact of heavy rain. 7,532 is the number of glaciers Pakistan has, a number that is bigger than anywhere outside the polar regions.
This causes Pakistan to be one of the countries most exposed to climate change-related weather extremes, Simon Bradshaw of the Climate Council of Australia said.