Around 90 people have already died in weather-related incidents since the first monsoon spell started less than a month ago, and major damage has been done to crops, livestock, and property nationwide.
The worst-affected area was Punjab, where more than 50 people lost their lives as a result of rain-related incidents. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suffered at least 20 fatalities as a result of flash floods and landslides.
More rain, thunderstorms, landslides, and high-level flooding in rivers including the Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab, and Jhelum have been predicted by national disaster authorities for the upcoming weeks.
The flood-affected towns are already struggling, and the rains are making matters worse as the government struggles to find the money needed for recovery and restoration. Over 1,700 people were killed by last summer’s floods, which also destroyed more than $30 billion worth of homes, crops, cattle, and roads and bridges. At a conference in Geneva back in January, the international community pledged to give Pakistan $10 billion to aid the government’s efforts. However, only a small portion of these pledges have been fulfilled because ‘assistance’ for flood victims was linked to the approval of the IMF bailout.
Even after the IMF agreed to offer the $3 billion lending facility, it is still unknown if and when the committed amount will be realised. The anticipated heavy rains could delay recovery in areas where many people who were uprooted by last year’s flood still reside, without access to shelter, food, healthcare, or employment. According to the International Rescue Committee, this year’s floods might affect 9.1 million people, spread disease, and cause more food shortages in a nation where food insecurity is already a major worry.
Pakistan, one of the top 10 most vulnerable nations according to the Global Climate Risk Index despite producing less than 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, has experienced $29 billion in economic losses over the last three decades as a result of climate-related disasters that have impacted 75 million people. The World Bank’s estimations do not take into account the harm done to ecosystems, coasts, or biodiversity.
Every new tragedy cancels classes for thousands of kids, sparks epidemics, and results in acute food shortages. Policymakers must make significant investments to deal with the scope of these disasters, with or without foreign assistance, as the impact of climate change intensifies, as demonstrated by last year’s flood.
However, the richer countries must understand that climate change will not be confined to weaker governments, as it is happening in Pakistan and other climate-vulnerable nations. They must drastically reduce GHG emissions as agreed upon at numerous international meetings, in addition to paying for their part in contributing to global warming.