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 18, 2022 at 7:08pm

WHO Director-General's statement on Pakistan – 17 September 2022
17 September 2022 Statement Reading time: 1 min (352 words)

I am deeply concerned about the potential for a second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of disease and death following this catastrophe, linked to climate change, that has severely impacted vital health systems leaving millions vulnerable. The water supply is disrupted, forcing people to drink unsafe water, which can spread cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. Standing water enables mosquitoes to breed and spread vector- borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. Health centres have been flooded, their supplies damaged, and people have moved away from home which makes it harder for them to access their normal health services. All this means more unsafe births, more untreated diabetes or heart disease, and more children missing vaccination, to name but a few of the impacts on health.

But if we act quickly to protect health and deliver essential health services, we can significantly reduce the impact of this impending crisis. Health workers in Pakistan are stretched to the limit as they do all they can to deliver critical services amid the destruction. Nearly 2000 health facilities have been fully or partially damaged. Together with the government of Pakistan, UN and NGO partners, WHO is setting up temporary health facilities and medical camps and helping to re-supply medicines to other health centres. We are increasing disease surveillance so outbreaks can be detected early and people can get the treatment they need.

Government and partners are providing safe drinking water and access to toilets to lower the risks of disease from dirty water. WHO has provided water purification kits and oral rehydration salts to manage diarrhoeal diseases. Partners are also helping ensure safer housing and bed nets to protect against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

WHO immediately released US$10 million from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies which enabled us to deliver essential medicines and other supplies.

I thank the donors for their prompt response to the flash appeal. We continue to assess the scale of the crisis and will issue a revised appeal shortly. I urge donors to continue to respond generously so that, together, we can save lives and prevent more suffering.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2022 at 7:44am

VEON Subsidiary Pushes Digital Inclusion in Pakistan

Tommy Clift | Reporter

Mobilink Microfinance Bank (MMBL) launched a trio of initiatives to accelerate financial inclusion for farmers and female entrepreneurs in Pakistan. The move echoes another by its parent company VEON to promote digital access through its subsidiary Kyvistar.

The MMBL plans include an agriculture advisory service for Pakistani farmers, e-commerce services for female entrepreneurs, and 4G handsets. VEON CEO Kaan Terzioglu believes the initiatives will play a pivotal role in digitalizing the microfinance industry in Pakistan.

VEON noted in a statement that agriculture represents nearly 23% of Pakistan’s gross domestic product and employs approximately 37% of its workforce. Recent floods in the country destroyed 3.6 million acres of crops and killed 700,000 livestock, it added.

MMBL is partnering with Pakistan-based agricultural technology company BaKhabar Kissan to provide information and guidance on livestock management, weather monitoring, crop planting – including which are profitable, and boosting agricultural yields.

“We are aiming to build a digital infrastructure that will help further economic prosperity and financial empowerment among women business owners and small and medium-sized farmers in the country, two segments that have the potential to transform Pakistan’s economic future,” MMBL President and CEO Ghazanfar Azzam stated.

Their push to incentivize and advance female entrepreneurs comes with their collaboration with Pakistan e-commerce platforms Daraz and its flagship Women Inspirational Network (WIN) program. This is intend to promote a female-focused, “digital financial ecosystem” using their subscriber base – currently accounting for 53% of the 195 million cellular subscribers in Pakistan, according to VEON.

Women make up nearly half of the country’s population, but VEON notes “their financial inclusion figure stands at 7%.”

The new program will use the Digit 4G handsets to “drive participation in the digital economy among marginalized groups within the population.” The handsets will be discounted and targeted at female entrepreneurs, coming “pre-loaded with the digital banking application, MMBL DOST, which will enable customers to obtain quick financial assistance, pay bills, make money transfers, and use a vast array of digital banking services,” VEON explained.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2022 at 8:00am

#AngelinaJolie visits #Pakistan to support victims of devastating #floods. She will highlight need for urgent support for Pakistani people & long-term solutions to multiplying crises of #climatechange, human displacement globally. #FloodsInPakistan

International humanitarian Angelina Jolie is visiting Pakistan to support communities affected by the devastating floods. Heavy rains and floods across the country have impacted 33 million people and submerged one third of the country under water. Ms Jolie is visiting to witness and gain understanding of the situation, and to hear from people affected directly about their needs, and about steps to prevent such suffering in the future.

Ms Jolie, who previously visited victims of the 2010 floods in Pakistan, and the 2005 earthquake, will visit the IRC’s emergency response operations and local organisations assisting displaced people including Afghan refugees.

Pakistan, which has contributed just 1% of global carbon emissions, is also the second largest host of refugees globally, its people having sheltered Afghan refugees for over forty years.

Ms Jolie will highlight the need for urgent support for the Pakistani people and long-term solutions to address the multiplying crises of climate change, human displacement and protracted insecurity we are witnessing globally.

Ms Jolie will see first hand how countries like Pakistan are paying the greatest cost for a crisis they did not cause. The IRC hopes her visit will shed light on this issue and prompt the international community - particularly states contributing the most to carbon emissions - to act and provide urgent support to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

Shabnam Baloch, Pakistan Country Director at the IRC said:

“The climate crisis is destroying lives and futures in Pakistan, with severe consequences especially for women and children. The resulting economic loss from these floods will likely lead to food insecurity and an increase in violence against women and girls. We need immediate support to reach people in urgent need, and long term investments to stop climate change from destroying our collective futures. With more rains expected in the coming months, we hope Angelina Jolie’s visit will help the world wake up and take action.”

IRC’s latest needs assessment shows people are in urgent need of food, drinking water, shelter, and healthcare. Every person surveyed reported women and girls have no access to menstrual hygiene products. So far, the IRC has reached more than 50,000 women and girls with humanitarian assistance, including dignity and hygiene kits to address the need for sanitation and menstrual items. We have been providing lifesaving services to flood-affected communities in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh since early July and have reached almost 950,000 people with emergency supplies, food, healthcare and safe spaces.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2022 at 4:20pm

Climate change likely helped cause deadly Pakistan floods, scientists find

It is likely that climate change helped drive deadly floods in Pakistan, according to a new scientific analysis. The floods killed nearly 1500 people and displaced more than 30 million, after record-breaking rain in August.

The analysis confirms what Pakistan's government has been saying for weeks: that the disaster was clearly driven by global warming. Pakistan experienced its wettest August since the country began keeping detailed national weather records in 1961. The provinces that were hardest hit by floods received up to eight times more rain than usual, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Climate change made such heavy rainfall more likely, according to the analysis by a group of international climate scientists in Pakistan, Europe and the United States. While Pakistan has sometimes experienced heavy monsoon rains, about 75 percent more water is now falling during weeks when monsoon rains are heaviest, the scientists estimate.

The analysis is a so-called attribution study, a type of research that is conducted very quickly compared to other climate studies, and is meant to offer policymakers and disaster survivors a rough estimate of how global warming affected a specific weather event. More in-depth research is underway to understand the many ways that climate change affects monsoon rainfall.

For example, while it's clear that intense rain will keep increasing as the Earth heats up, climate models also suggest that overall monsoon rains will be less reliable. That would cause cycles of both drought and flooding in Pakistan and neighboring countries in the future.

Such climate whiplash has already damaged crops and killed people across southeast Asia in recent years, and led to a water crisis in Chennai, India in 2019.

The new analysis also makes clear that human caused climate change was not the only driver of Pakistan's deadly floods. Scientists point out that millions of people live in flood-prone areas with outdated drainage in provinces where the flooding was most severe. Upgrading drainage, moving homes and reinforcing bridges and roads would all help prevent such catastrophic damage in the future.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2022 at 4:40pm


Submerged Cities (Mehar, Qambar, Larkana, Sukkur, Khairpur Nathanshah, Sehwan,
Satellite images show unprecedented floods have left parts of Pakistan underwater.

Floods from record monsoon rains in Pakistan and glacial melt in the country’s mountainous north have affected 33 million people and killed over 1,500, washing away homes, roads, railways, bridges, livestock and crops in damage estimated at $30 billion.

Both the government and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have blamed climate change for the extreme weather that led to the flooding and submerged huge areas of the nation of 220 million.

Large swathes of the country are inundated, and hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes while some villages have become islands.

Images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite, analysed by Reuters, show the extent of flooding around towns and cities in Sindh province, one of the country’s worst affected areas.

There are at least three points in Dadu district in the province of Sindh where the Indus Highway is submerged, with traffic suspended for weeks, while Pakistan's other highway connecting the north and south has also been badly hit by the flood waters.

The cities of Qambar and Larkana sit around 25 km apart and are just west of the Indus River. Both have been heavily impacted by flood water.

Images show farm fields that resemble massive lakes of several miles in diameter and landscapes which are usually a spectrum of brown, yellow and green, now submerged by water.

Reuters’ drone footage over Sindh showed agricultural and residential areas completely submerged in water, with just the tops of trees and buildings visible.

Urban centres like Larkana and Sukkur, while not completely unscathed, faced comparatively lesser damage from the flooding. The airport remains operational and is receiving flights that are carrying relief supplies that have been arriving from China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates carrying tents, food and medicine. People from nearby villages are also queuing up to get treated at hospitals in the city.

U.N. agencies have begun work to assess the South Asian nation's reconstruction needs after it received 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain, or nearly 190% more than the 30-year average, in July and August. Sindh received 466% more rain than average.

The map below shows the extent of flooding through the province. Many of the towns and villages have been submerged or surrounded by flood waters.

Over the last few weeks, authorities have thrown up barriers to keep the flood waters out of key structures such as power stations as well as homes, while farmers who stayed to try and save their cattle faced a new threat as fodder began to run out.

Data from Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, shows how rapidly the disaster unfolded as more people died towards the end of August and the numbers continue to pile up. In Sindh, the country’s hardest hit region, accounts for little over 40 percent of the deaths.

As of Sept 18 the floods have partially or permanently damaged over 1.9 million houses, destroyed 12,718 km (7,902 miles) of roads, nearly a million livestock, and swamped millions of acres of farmland since the start of the monsoon.

Data shows how damage and destruction escalated during August when rains were heaviest. More than half a million homes have been completely destroyed. The majority of the damaged infrastructure is in Sindh.

The city of Khairpur Nathan Shah in Sindh, which is about 25 km (15.5 miles) west of the Indus River is completely surrounded by flood water. The roofs of the homes resemble an archipelago in place of a city.

The crisis is far from over as rescue operations have been unable to get to all the affected areas. Of the 33 million people affected, about half a million have been moved to camps with about 180,000 rescued. More than half of the country’s 160 districts continue to be affected by the floods.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2022 at 8:16pm

World leaders join Pakistan for SOS on flood and debt

Paris offers to host rehabilitation conference
• Shehbaz to present Pakistan’s case on Friday
• UN chief opens UNGA with ‘debt-climate adaptation swaps’ suggestion

UNITED NATIONS: “Pakistan is drowning, not only in floodwater but in debt” too, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged the international community on Tuesday to stay engaged with the country as it deals with this huge humanitarian crisis.

Pakistan and France, meanwhile, agreed to identify ways and means to support efforts to tackle the challenge caused by the floods and Paris offered to host an international conference before the end of the year to help Islamabad rebuild in a climate-resilient manner.

“I recently saw it with my own eyes in Pakistan — where one-third of the country is submerged by a ‘monsoon on steroids’,” said the UN chief during a forceful address to world leaders gathered for the opening day of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.

Mr Guterres repeated the appeal he first made during his recent visit to Pakistan where he urged lenders to consider debt reduction to help those nations that were facing a possible economic collapse. “Creditors should consider debt reduction mechanisms such as debt-climate adaptation swaps,” he said again at the UNGA. “These could have saved lives and livelihoods in Pakistan, which is drowning not only in floodwater, but in debt.”

The UN chief urged the lenders to set up “an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries, including middle-income countries, in debt distress”.

This is the first UNGA session attended physically by world leaders after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also at the welcome reception hosted by Mr Guterres, Prime Minister Sharif interacted with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Spain Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi.

Besides, Mr Sharif expressed gratitude to Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas for sending the response and rescue team for the flood-affected people of Pakistan.

He also highlighted the need for helping out developing economies in a series of tweets. He was scheduled to address the Global Food Security Summit, but could not due to other engagements. In his tweets, he said he had come to the UNGA to “tell Pakistan’s story to the world, a story of deep anguish and pain arising out of a massive human tragedy caused by floods”.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 21, 2022 at 6:26pm

Angelina Jolie after viewing the flood disaster in Pakistan: "I have never seen anything like this. I have been to Pakistan many times. Pakistanis have been very generous to Afghan refugees but now they need help. Often times those who have less give more than so many other countries. The climate change is not only real but it's here. This is a wakeup call to the world about where we are. The countries that have not done as much damage to climate are the ones that are bearing the brunt. The needs in Pakistan are now so great. I appeal to the world to help. Many of the victims here will not make it without a lot of help."

More excerpts of her press conference in Pakistan:

"I feel overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that since I am not living this."

"I've never seen anything like this and I have been to Pakistan many times"

"It is often seen that the countries that don't have as much give more than so many other countries"

"I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more. I feel that we say that often... we speak of aid appeals, relief and support but this is something very, very different"

"Climate change is not only real and it is not only coming, it is here,"

"I've seen the lives that were saved but I've also seen... I've been speaking to people and thinking that if enough aid doesn't come they won't be here in next few weeks... they won't make it"

"Even if they make it next few months with the winter coming and the destruction of the crops and the hard reality ... I am overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that because I am not living this so I simply try to speak out for help. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be there"

"I will return and continue to return and my heart is very, very much with the people at this time"

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 22, 2022 at 7:11am

Following Devastating #FloodsInPakistan2022, Senators Feinstein, Gillibrand, Colleagues Call on President Biden to Grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Pakistani Nationals, allowing them to remain in #US until #Pakistan recovers. #Immigration

In addition to Feinstein and Gillibrand, the letter was also signed by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

“Granting TPS to Pakistani nationals in need is a small but consequential step that the United States can take to immediately reduce the human suffering caused by this natural disaster and would reaffirm our stance as a global leader committed to humanitarian relief efforts and protections,” wrote the senators. “Should Pakistan officially request TPS designation given the current conditions the country is facing, we urge the Biden administration to prioritize such a request while continuing to monitor ongoing developments and deliberate on the best way to aid the Pakistani community.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2022 at 7:07am

Saeed Shah
Developing countries want funds to deal with climate disasters they say are caused by greenhouse gas emissions of rich countries. The bill could run to trillions. The scale of floods in Pakistan has made the country a leading voice in this demand for help


After suffering catastrophic floods, Pakistan is leading a push with other developing nations to establish international funding for natural disasters that they say are caused by climate change, in an effort to spur momentum around the issue ahead of climate negotiations later this year.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a speech Friday at the United Nations General Assembly, is set to point to record rainfall that has inundated parts of Pakistan in recent weeks to make the case that those countries who have contributed least to causing global warming are suffering the most from the impacts of climate change, aides say. Pakistan produces around 1% of global greenhouse-gas emissions but estimates that the floods will cost it more than $30 billion in lost economic growth and rebuilding costs.

“We have become the postcard from the edge of the climate precipice,” said Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister, adding that the floods have set the country’s development back by a decade. “The bargain between the global South and the North is broken.”

There will likely be a clash over the issue at the next climate summit, COP27, to be held in Egypt in November, where officials from developing nations say they will seek again to get a general agreement on setting up a fund for “loss and damage” from wealthier nations.

At the last climate summit, in Glasgow, a proposal from developing countries for a dedicated funding facility under that umbrella went nowhere. European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said it wasn’t possible to agree to a new fund without first working out what it would do and who would fund it.

“Rather than accepting what could have been an empty symbolic gesture, the EU considers that it may better help affected communities by scaling up the work of institutions that they already turn to when facing impacts in the real world,” Mr. Timmermans said in a statement earlier this year.

This year, Pakistan will try to harness global attention on the floods to shift the debate. It will be leading the biggest grouping of countries at the gathering, the G-77 bloc of more than 130 developing countries plus China, giving Islamabad an important role in coordinating the drive for disaster recovery and rebuilding funds. Egypt, president of COP27, says it is also supporting the effort.

After decades of negotiations, developed nations committed in 2009 to contribute funds to poorer countries for reducing the impact of climate change, by switching to energy sources that lower carbon emissions and implementing measures to adapt, such as moving populations to higher ground or building embankment defenses against floods. They committed to providing $100 billion a year from 2020 to 2025, a target not yet achieved. Some $83 billion was paid in 2020, including loans and export credits, not just grants, according to a tally by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of developed nations.

However, that money is for preventative measures. Developing countries say the missing element is money available for disasters when they hit. That category is known as “loss and damage” in climate negotiations. For many developing countries, this funding is a matter of basic fairness, or “climate justice,” as they say that historically, emissions have been caused largely by the richer countries.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2022 at 7:08am

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

Richer countries have generally been resistant to the idea, given the trillions of dollars potentially involved and the difficulty of deciding how to disburse the funds. An unsuccessful proposal from developing nations at the last summit, in Glasgow, demanded at least $1.3 trillion annually, to finance the shift away from fossil fuels and to protect themselves from the effects of climate change, starting in 2030.

“There’s been decades of pushback on liability and compensation,” said Yamide Dagnet, director of Climate Justice at Open Society, a group that advocates for democracy and government accountability. The 2015 Paris climate accord, for example, included the idea of “loss and damage,” but developed countries wouldn’t agree to any language that would provide any basis for liability or compensation, she said. “The scale of Pakistan’s floods is defining the issue of loss and damage,” Ms. Dagnet said.

In his speech to the U.N. on Wednesday, President Biden singled out Pakistan’s disaster as an example of the “human cost of climate change.” U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met this week with the Pakistani prime minister on the sidelines of the General Assembly, tweeting afterward that they discussed “the urgent need to work together to fight the climate crisis.” The U.S. is the biggest donor so far to Pakistan’s appeal for humanitarian aid for the floods, with $55 million.

Mr. Kerry said this week that he was focused on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions, including by large developing countries that are now major emitters. Loss and damage will be part of the discussions at the COP27 summit, but he said he didn’t expect any broad agreement would be reached until 2024. “You can’t just set up a facility in six weeks,” said Mr. Kerry. “Where’s the money coming from?”

“In all honesty, the most important thing that we can do is stop, mitigate enough that we prevent loss and damage,” Mr. Kerry said. “And the next most important thing we can do is help people adapt to the damage that’s already there. ”

Still, some governments have undertaken symbolic gestures. This week, Denmark became the first country to offer “loss and damage” compensation to vulnerable countries, pledging $13 million.

Conrod Hunte, deputy chairman of the Association of Small Island States, nations that are some of the most vulnerable to climate change, said that Pakistan’s flooding demonstrates the need for a loss and damages fund. “If the moral conscience of our development partners really kicks in, I think this is something we can walk away with,” Mr. Hunte said.

Droughts and floods are likely to become more intense as a result of climate change, scientists say. In Pakistan this summer, monsoon clouds followed an unusual trajectory, to the south of the country, where more than five times the normal rain fell, not the mountainous north.

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.


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