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