Climate Change: Pakistan Requires Massive Assistance to Recover From Catastrophic Floods

Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of the worst floods in the country's history.  Over a thousand Pakistanis are dead. About 33 million people in two southern provinces are homeless. Sindh is inundated with 784% of normal rainfall so far this year. Balochistan has seen 522% of average rainfall. Both provinces suffered their worst ever heatwave prior to this unprecedented deluge. Nearly a million livestock have been lost, over two million acres of farmland is underwater and 90% of the crops in Sindh and Balochistan have been damaged. This is a massive humanitarian crisis. Pakistan can not deal with it alone.

Pakistan Flood 2022 Map. Source: DW

Satellite Image of Qambar, Sindh Before/After Floods 2022. Source: ...

Satellite Image of Shikarpur, Sindh Before/After Floods 2022. Source: NASA



Balochistan and Sindh Worst Affected by Monsoon22. Source: The Econ...

Pakistan's population is about 2.6% of the world population. The nation contributes less than 1% of the global carbon emissions. It lacks the resources needed to deal with the consequences of this man-made disaster. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States was fueled mainly by fossil fuels such as coal and oil believed to be responsible for climate change.  The following map from Professor Jason Hickel shows that the countries in the global north are the biggest polluters while those in the global south are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

Climate Injustice: Low Emitters Global South vs Big Polluters in In...
Average Annual Cost of Floods in Vulnerable Countries. Source: Bloo...

Comparison of 2022 and 2010 Floods in Pakistan. Source: WWF

It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to provide immediate relief to 33 million people, followed by tens of billions of dollars in assistance to rebuild the lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure destroyed by this catastrophe. Pakistan's gross capital formation is only 15% of its GDP. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan, according to Bloomberg. It is time for the rich industrialized world to help developing nations such as Pakistan to deal with the massive impact of climate change. 

Low Gross Capital Formation in Pakistan. Source: Bloomberg 

All Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis need to pitch in with donations to help finance immediate disaster relief activities. Beyond that, Pakistan will have to be helped by international experts to build disaster preparedness capacity. The new housing and infrastructure will have to be funded and built to ensure its resilience in future climate disasters which are likely to occur more often with greater intensity. There is an urgent  need to prepare western and multilateral financial institutions to deal with such climate catastrophes in developing nations. Mechanisms also need to be put in place to provide and manage funding of these projects in a transparent manner. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2022 at 7:11am

Pakistan Leads Push for Funding to Counter Damage From Climate Change
The country’s destructive floods will underpin efforts at the U.N., and at climate talks this year, to progress on an international fund for losses from extreme weather

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-leads-push-for-funding-to-cou...

A study last week from World Weather Attribution, a global collaboration of scientists that seeks to provide information on the role of global warming in specific weather events, said that climate change was likely a contributing factor in Pakistan’s heavier rainfall this year. That study followed an earlier one from the same group, which found that a heat wave that hit India and Pakistan this spring was made 30 times more likely as a result of climate change.




Fahad Saeed, an Islamabad-based scientist at Germany’s Climate Analytics think tank, and one of the co-authors of the study, said that the earlier heat wave warmed the ground, which was a significant factor in drawing in moisture from the sea and the monsoon clouds to the southern part of the country.

“We now have scientific evidence for Pakistan that losses and damages can be attributed to climate change,” Mr. Saeed said.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, told a meeting organized by Pakistan this week that discussions around this funding will be “a principal issue on the global climate action agenda” and he hoped for “positive results” at COP27, according to a statement from his government.

The total finance available annually for climate action came to an average of $632 billion for 2019 and 2020, including the private sector, according to a report from Climate Policy Initiative, an advisory firm based in San Francisco. Of that sum, 90% went on switching to cleaner energy, and 7% to adaptation measures such as moving to drought-resistant crops. That leaves losses from extreme weather unfunded, said Preety Bhandari, senior adviser at the World Resources Institute, a think tank based in Washington.

“There is really no option but progress on ‘loss and damage’ at COP27,” said Ms. Bhandari. “It is a make-or-break issue.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2022 at 7:41am

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif fears that all hell will break loose if a debt deal is not reached to aid the flood-stricken country as the threat of epidemics looms large.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/2022/09/23/pakistan-pm-says-a...

More than 1,400 people have been killed and 33 million affected by record flooding and monsoon rains which battered the country in recent months, and also caused devastation in neighbouring Afghanistan. Recovery is estimated to cost at least $30 billion.

In an interview with Bloomberg in New York, where he was scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Friday, Mr Sharif said he had spoken to European leaders and creditor nations to secure a moratorium on debt, some of which is due in the next two months.

“Unless we get substantial relief, how can the world expect from us to stand on our own feet?" he said. "It is simply impossible."

Thousands of doctors have been sent to Pakistan's worst-hit province of Sindh to battle against the spread of waterborne diseases. More than 134,000 cases of diarrhoea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the province this past week, AP reported.

Addressing the "colossal" costs of rebuilding, Mr Sharif also warned of impending chaos if Pakistan does not receive more funds.

“God forbid this happens, all hell will break," he said. “Time is running, and we’re racing against time. Please help us avoid this disaster.”

On a recent visit to the country, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for "global support" in the aftermath of the floods. He issued a warning of the universal effect of climate change, another issue high on the UNGA agenda this year.

“We will do everything possible to mobilise the international community to support your country and to support all of you in this dramatic situation," he said during his visit.

“Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today, it is Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”


The US Agency for International Development previously announced it would send $50 million in emergency relief assistance.

Angelina Jolie this week visited Pakistan, where she said she had "never seen anything like it".

She repeated Mr Guterres's call for increased international aid.

"We see it's the countries that don't cause as much [damage] to the environment that's bearing the brunt of the disaster," said Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency. "I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more.

"This is a real wake-up call to the world about where we're at. Climate change is not only real and it's not only coming, it's very much here."

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2022 at 4:21pm

Pakistan battles disease surge as flood deaths surpass 1,600
By MUNIR AHMED Associated Press SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 — 12:40PM

https://www.startribune.com/pakistan-battles-disease-surge-as-flood...

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan deployed thousands more doctors and medics to battle the outbreak of disease as the death toll from the unprecedented floods that have gripped the country this summer surpassed 1,600 on Friday, officials said.

The disaster management agency said 10 more people had died from the floods in the past 24 hours — four in Sindh, the worst-hit province in the deluge, and six in Baluchistan province — bringing the overall number of fatalities to 1,606 across Pakistan.

In Sindh, where thousands of makeshift medical camps for flood survivors have been set up, the National Disaster Management Authority said outbreaks of a spate of illnesses such as typhoid, malaria and dengue fever have killed at least 300 of the flood victims.

Some of the doctors who refused to work in Sindh province have been fired by the government, according to the provincial health department. Floods have killed 728 people, including 313 children and 134 women in the province since July.

The monsoon rains and flooding, which many experts say are fueled by climate change, have also affected 33 million people and destroyed or damaged 2 million homes across Pakistan. About half a million flood survivors are homeless, living in tents and makeshift structures.

Over the past two months, Pakistan sent nearly 10,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff to tend to survivors in across Sindh. About 18,000 doctors and nearly 38,000 paramedics are treating survivors in the province, according to the latest data from the health department.

Floods have also damaged more than 1,000 health facilities in Sindh, forcing some survivors to travel to other areas to seek medical help.

Waterborne and other diseases in the past two months have killed 334 flood victims, authorities said. The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to raise the alarm about a "second disaster," with doctors on the ground racing to battle outbreaks.

Some floodwaters in Pakistan have receded, but many districts in Sindh are still submerged, and displaced people living in tents and makeshift camps face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue fever and malaria, which are on the rise amid stagnant waters.

Also Friday in Sindh, teams of fumigators fanned out across flood-hit areas, spraying in an effort to keep mosquitos at bay and prevent further outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria. Over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the hardest-hit areas of Sindh this past week.

Dengue fever is also on the rise, especially in Karachi, the provincial capital, where health teams were spraying insecticide onto puddles of water in the streets.

The devastation has led the United Nations to consider sending more money than it committed during its flash appeal for $160 million to support Pakistan's flood response.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 25, 2022 at 7:02am

#WorldBank pledges $2 billion for #flood-ravaged #Pakistan.The World Bank agreed last week to provide $850 million in flood #relief for Pakistan. The $2 billion figure includes that amount. #FloodsInPakistan2022 #ClimateCrisis #Sindh https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/World-Bank-pledges-2-billion-fo...(Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral via @SFGate

Raiser said the bank is working with provincial authorities to begin as quickly as possible repairing infrastructure and housing and “restore livelihoods, and to help strengthen Pakistan’s resilience to climate-related risks. We are envisaging financing of about $2 billion to that effect."

Over the past two months, Pakistan has sent nearly 10,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff to tend to survivors in Sindh province.
-------

The World Bank said it will provide about $2 billion in aid to Pakistan, ravaged by floods that have killed more than 1,600 people this year, the largest pledge of assistance so far.

Unprecedented monsoon rains and flooding this year — which many experts attribute to climate change — have also injured some 13,000 people across the country since mid-June. The floods have displaced millions and destroyed crops, half a million homes and thousands of kilometers (miles) of roads.

The World Bank’s vice president for South Asia, Martin Raiser, announced the pledge in an overnight statement after concluding his first official visit to the country Saturday.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and livelihoods due to the devastating floods and we are working with the federal and provincial governments to provide immediate relief to those who are most affected,” he said.

Raiser met with federal ministers and the chief minister of southern Sindh province, the most affected region, where he toured the badly hit Dadu district.

Thousands of makeshift medical camps for flood survivors have been set up in the province, where the National Disaster Management Authority said outbreaks of typhoid, malaria and dengue fever have killed at least 300 people.

The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to raise the alarm about a “second disaster,” with doctors on the ground racing to battle outbreaks.

“As an immediate response, we are repurposing funds from existing World Bank-financed projects to support urgent needs in health, food, shelter, rehabilitation and cash transfers," Raiser said.

The World Bank agreed last week in a meeting with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly to provide $850 million in flood relief for Pakistan. The $2 billion figure includes that amount.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 26, 2022 at 5:26pm

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans...

We have tried, in various ways, to convey to the world the scale of destruction caused by recent floods in Pakistan, because, apparently, a third of the country underwater and thirty-three million lives upended doesn’t cut it. Pakistan’s climate minister has called it Biblical. We have shot and shared videos in which the landmark New Honeymoon Hotel crumbles in the duration of a TikTok. The U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres, who is seventy-three and has called the climate crisis a “code red for humanity,” visited Pakistan and said that he hadn’t seen this scale of climate carnage in his life. Some of us have created maps showing that the areas underwater are larger than Britain. We have shown pictures of dead and starving cattle to appeal to animal-lovers. We have posted videos of puppies being heroically rescued from rushing waters.

Maybe when the world seems to be ending, it needs poets. A poet in Khairpur, in southern Pakistan, one of the worst-affected areas, was asked by a journalist if he had received a tent to shelter his family. He found the idea so improbable that he asked, “Why are you making fun of me? Why would anyone give me a tent?” Pakistanis are saying that charity tents and emergency supplies are welcome, but what we need and want is compensation for climate-related loss and damage. Although much of the world seems to agree in principle, there is a we-have-all-heard-this-before weariness in the air. Our innovative communications have little impact. The U.S. has offered fifty million dollars and “long-term” support, the U.N. has appealed for a hundred and sixty million, France has offered to hold a donors’ conference, Angelina Jolie has flown in and said that she’s never seen such devastation. President Biden casually mentioned at the U.N. General Assembly that Pakistan “needs help,” without any specifics. This all sounds like a lot until you remember that Pakistan’s losses are estimated to be around thirty billion dollars.

Experts have pointed out that this is not the kind of flood that causes weeks of havoc and then leaves behind fertile lands. Six months from now, flooded fields still may not be ready for cultivation. Most people affected by the floods live off the land, from crop to crop. Waterborne diseases and food shortages are already rampant. Climate scientists who have studied Pakistani floods have concluded that they can only predict more unpredictability.

Scientists are clear, however, that the catastrophe in Pakistan is linked to global warming. Pakistan generates less than one per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. We are quite good at blaming ourselves and our governments for our misfortunes, but global warming is overwhelmingly caused by rich folks living thousands of miles away, mostly in the West, by people who know that their air-conditioned homes and midsize cars and Caribbean holidays have snatched away the home and livelihood of someone in a village in Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 26, 2022 at 5:26pm

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans...


The West sees its culpability in this man-made disaster but prefers to blame the victim. I think of a fable that I grew up with, in which a lamb drinks from a river downstream until a lion accuses it of polluting the river upstream. In the version of the fable that I remember, the lion eats the lamb as punishment. Imagine this: the driver of an S.U.V. speeds into a country lane, hits a person on a bicycle, and then, instead of paying damages, asks the cyclist to drive an electric vehicle powered by renewable energy. The driver of the S.U.V. wonders why the cyclist wasn’t more resilient, and asks, “Why didn’t you plan for a future where my car might come and destroy your bicycle and break your leg? You could have prepared for a better future, for apocalyptic floods, but what did you do? You prepared a petition for reparations? And you don’t even have a practical plan for how these reparations would work?”

Those calling for climate reparations received an answer from America’s climate envoy, John Kerry, at the U.N. General Assembly last week. “You tell me the government in the world that has trillions of dollars, ’cause that’s what it costs,” he said, perhaps steeling himself for difficult questions at November’s global climate conference, cop27, in Egypt. Western governments do have trillions of dollars, and they have had more than a decade to think through how climate reparations should work. Kerry sounded like he was haggling over the price of life jackets with drowning people.

Maybe Pakistan could have handled the current floods better if we had done our homework. We had a massive flood in 2010, experts were flown in, reports and studies were commissioned and then shelved. But Pakistan, like its Western allies, had other priorities: we were busy in neighboring Afghanistan, helping America defeat the Taliban, or maybe helping the Taliban defeat America—we are still not sure. On the other border, we were busy with India. Even in the week of our Biblical floods, we managed to finalize a deal with the United States worth four hundred and fifty million dollars, to upgrade our F-16 fighter planes. We may not know how we are going to feed our people for the next six months, but we have made sure that we can keep them safe from hostile aircraft.

Like Westerners, Pakistani élites planned for security and progress. We turned agricultural lands into golf courses and gated communities, and built houses on riverbeds, and grew cash crops along waterways. We thought less about the millions who live in mud houses, who till someone else’s land to feed their kids and save a bit in hopes of sending them to school one day. Now the water has turned their houses back into mud, and washed away the grain that they stocked for the entire year, and flooded the land that still belongs to someone else. They dare not dream of justice, let alone climate justice.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 26, 2022 at 5:27pm

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans...

Experts tell us that the world suffers from donor fatigue, what with a war in Ukraine, in which people with fair skin and blue eyes are fleeing their homes and fighting for their lives. What goes unsaid is that hearts have been hardened by repeated images of brown mothers cradling skeletal children who are covered in flies, along overflowing rivers or scorched fields. Or maybe rich nations think that they should save their money for when the disasters come for them.

Sometimes my own compatriots tell the world, If you don’t listen, it could happen to you. The West seems unfazed by this logic: climate carnage has happened there, is happening there. Perhaps the West fears that if it acknowledges any debt to a country like Pakistan, it will no longer be able to withhold what it owes its own citizens. A childhood friend lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for most of his life, and in the span of a year his house and business were destroyed thrice, first by Hurricane Laura, then snow, then flooding. He reluctantly put his house up for sale, moved to Los Angeles, and slowly started to build a life. The aid that the government promised to Lake Charles hasn’t arrived. After Hurricane Maria, hundreds of thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico were denied federal assistance. They were still vulnerable when Hurricane Fiona brought floods and blackouts again, this week. The lamb does not escape the lion by showing a U.S. passport.


A global climate movement has made people aware of their carbon footprint, of the impact of their eating habits, of the evils of fossil-fuel companies, but it has yet to convince people that they and their governments can and should pay for what they helped to destroy. They must, because the losses and damages will only grow, and because the West became rich from the burning of fossil fuels, and because the village that is drowning may one day be their own.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 26, 2022 at 5:27pm

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans...

When rich nations refuse to acknowledge that countries such as Pakistan need climate reparations, they not only shirk their responsibility now but set a precedent of inaction and impunity, even within their own borders. They seem to say, We can build walls so high that the polluted air will only poison you. When it melts glaciers, only you will drown, and when your fields are flooded, only you will go hungry. We can give you a few thousand tents to shelter your millions, or rafts to float you over what used to be self-sustaining villages, but we don’t owe you anything. If it happens to us, rich countries seem to say, we won’t starve. We can always eat you. ♦

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2022 at 7:03am

These bamboo shelters are empowering communities displaced by Pakistan's floods

Pakistan's "never-before-seen" floods have affected 33 million people, many of whom are still seeking safe refuge after record monsoon rains damaged or destroyed more than a million homes. The summer's catastrophic flooding, which was exacerbated by melting glaciers, has submerged one-third of the country, with authorities saying it could take up to six months for the water to recede.
To address the need for emergency housing, architect Yasmeen Lari and the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan have been working around the clock to equip people in hard-hit Sindh province with the skills and materials to construct prefabricated bamboo shelters.
The shelters, called Lari OctaGreen (LOG), can be built by six or seven people within a few hours. They were initially designed in response to a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit northeastern Afghanistan in 2015, with a pilot program providing temporary homes to several hundred families in neighboring Pakistan, where the majority of deaths occurred. Since 2018, more than 1,200 bamboo versions have been built in disaster-prone areas. (Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis according to the Global Climate Risk Index, despite European Union data showing that it is responsible for less than 1% of planet-warming gases).
The project aims to give people in disaster-stricken areas a sense of agency by teaching them how to build their own homes — and helping them generate income in the process, as many have lost their livelihoods. Communities are also taught ways to deal with future disasters, such as making aquifer trenches and wells to absorb rainwater.
"The people who are impacted want to contribute the most," Lari said in a phone interview, explaining that many of the project's artisans are from the flooded villages. They have also been helping identify who needs help and how to deliver the prefabricated parts.
"People are sitting under the sky with nothing. They are thinking: How can we work? They have no security, no privacy, no dignity," Lari said, adding that people "don't need handouts" but should, instead, be empowered.
The shelters are designed to be low cost, low tech and low in environmental impact. "I want it to be zero carbon," explained Lari, whose foundation has been entirely subsidizing the emergency homes at a cost of about 25,000 Pakistani rupees ($108) each. "I don't want to create another problem in climate change by building in concrete or steel."
Bamboo was chosen for its strength and resilience. And, because it's commonly grown throughout the country, it's easier to source. Two workshops have been established to cut the bamboo rods to specific sizes and then bundle them into kits. The shelters are assembled, on site, into eight sturdy panels and a roof that are then bound together by rope and covered with matting.
Where possible, "everything should be locally-sourced" Lari said. "This is a way to link up the production of housing with how people can earn immediately."
Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2022 at 4:39pm

Pakistan’s #flood crisis could be an opportunity for real change. Devastating floods have also hit #Florida. Considering the global nature of #climate challenge, at some point #US & #Pakistan must find the courage to work together on "Green Marshall Plan" https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/29/pakistan-flood-c...

This week, Americans are understandably focused on the hurricane-related flooding in Florida, which is causing tragedy for thousands. Yet there is little attention in the United States to the fact that Pakistan has been flooded since mid-June, a catastrophe that is still causing unspeakable suffering for tens of millions.


Both of these crises owe much to the same phenomenon — climate change. But aside from some limited aid, there’s scant U.S.-Pakistan cooperation on long-term solutions. That has to change, according to Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was in the United States this week pitching his proposal for a “Green Marshall Plan.” In meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and others, Zardari argued for a way those countries most responsible for climate change can help those countries most affected — and, in turn, help themselves.

It’s a big idea, and there are reasons for skepticism. But considering the global nature of the climate challenge, at some point the United States and Pakistan must find the courage to work together. In the process, the two countries might find a way back to being true allies, which would benefit both sides and balance China’s rising influence in the South Asia region.

“We have to find the opportunity in this crisis,” Zardari told me. “There are two ways of us going forward. We can do this dirtier, badly, in a way that will be worse for us and worse for the environment, or we can try to build back better in a greener, more climate-resilient manner.”

Zardari’s call for a “Green Marshall Plan” is meant to evoke America’s historical penchant for pursuing its enlightened self-interest. The idea also plays into President Biden’s own Build Back Better World concept. The theory is that Western government support for private-sector investment in climate-resilient, ecologically sustainable infrastructure in Pakistan would redound to the benefit of Western industry and help mitigate the future climate-related crises that are sure to come.

Florida will have several days of rain. In Pakistan, it rained for more than three months, submerging one-third of the country in a body of water than can be seen from space. The high floodwaters have created a cascade of problems, devastating Pakistan’s agriculture, manufacturing, trade and public health sectors.

Floods are almost a perennial occurrence in Pakistan, but this year’s continuing disaster is uniquely cataclysmic, impacting more than 33 million people (more than Florida’s entire population), including 16 million children and more than 600,000 pregnant women, according to the United Nations.

The flood and its aftereffects also risk throwing Pakistan right back into the economic crisis it was clawing its way out of. Pakistan was already on the hook to pay back $1 billion of the $10 billion it owes the Paris Club by the end of this year. Islamabad also owes some $30 billion to China. Now the country is being forced to borrow billions more to deal with the current situation.

The real question, Zardari said, is not whether the international community will come through with short-term aid and debt relief. The challenge is for the world to realize that Pakistan’s flood crisis won’t be the last or the worst, meaning the international response must take a far broader view.

In a world where covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war and the worldwide economic slowdown are commanding the attention of policymakers in Western capitals, the bandwidth for new and expensive ideas is narrow. Zardari knows it’s a tough sell.


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