Pakistan Floods Are Proof Climate Change is Here


Nuha Maflahi, Reporter

Since mid-June, Pakistan has been flooding because of monsoon rains and melting glaciers due to climate change. The floodings have been getting worse ever since Lake Manchar overflowed in early September. Pakistan has been receiving five times the amount of rain they normally get from monsoons. Lake Manchar is the biggest lake in Pakistan and the extra rain has overflowed the lake. After breaching the banks three times, the lake is well over triple the size. Over one-third of Pakistan is underwater, with millions of people being affected, especially people who live in rural areas.

Pakistan is facing one of its biggest disasters in ten years and it’s hitting people hard. The death toll has reached 1,325 people, including 466 children, with 33 million people being affected. The WHO estimates that 634,000 people have been displaced by the flood, but the number is probably higher because of the hard-to-reach areas. People in the flooded areas either had to run for their lives or find any small island of land that wasn’t flooded and wait for help. The people that didn’t have money to run have been living on tiny strips of land. Their crops have been wiped out so they’re living off food rations given by rescue organizations. With multiple families huddling together with livestock in a tiny area, malaria has been spreading quickly. There’s no way to get medicine and 10% of hospitals in Pakistan have been damaged. Women and children are being particularly affected. Due to gender equality, it’s harder for women to get an education, so they stay home and take care of the kids. These women don’t have to skills necessary to save themselves or their kids. These displaced women also include 1.2 million pregnant women, some of them having to give birth during the flood.

With the disaster growing worse, officials have had to take desperate measures. There have been three breaches of Lake Manchar, two of them intentional. The government caused two breaches of the lake to direct water away from densely populated districts like Dadu, which are inhabited by 1.55 million people. The water was directed into rural areas, affecting 135,000 people. Officials say that it was necessary to direct the water to less populated areas to save more people. There aren’t enough resources to help everyone and officials are pleading for help from richer countries. UN has made an appeal to raise $160 million for emergency relief. The US Agency for International Development is donating $30 million in humanitarian aid to Pakistan. Military enforcements from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are being sent to evacuate people. Countries like China, Canada, and Azerbaijan have been sending relief items while medical camps are being set up. Despite all the aid Pakistan’s been receiving, there aren’t enough volunteers on the ground to deal with a disaster this large.

The main cause of these floods is climate change. Carbon emissions are at an all-time high and it’s destroying the world. Pakistan is proof. One of the effects of climate change has been stronger floods due to weather changes. The heat is caused by carbon emissions, heating our atmosphere, melting glaciers, and causing monsoons. The melting glaciers and monsoons combined have resulted in the floods being seen right now. The question isn’t when climate change is going to happen, it’s already here and the most vulnerable countries are paying for it. The countries with the most carbon emissions are the U.S, China, and India, with China and the U.S both being first-world countries. Pakistan produces less than 1% of the world’s carbon emissions, but because of its geographic location, they’re getting hit hardest by climate change. It’s unfair that the most vulnerable countries that aren’t contributing to climate change are getting hit the hardest, while the richest countries don’t have to face the consequences of their actions. This disaster caused by climate change should be a wake-up call to leaders, to limit the effect of climate change before more innocent people also have to pay the price for something that isn’t their fault.