Pakistan is experiencing an extreme monsoon season since mid-June, leading to the worst flooding in the country in a decade and leaving a third of the country under water, reports Reuters.
Some 33 million people have been affected as the heavy rains destroyed business, homes, infrastructure and crops. More than 1100 people, including more than 350 children, have lost their lives, while hundreds of thousands are outdoors without food, water, shelter, or health care.
Health officials are concerned about outbreaks of waterborne diseases after the floods; the cases of diarrhoea and malaria have increased as floodwater has left people with no access to clean water.
Pakistan has received almost 190% more rain than the average for the past 30 years. The worst flooding occurred along the Indus River in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh. The latter two provinces have received five to six times their 30-year average rainfall. According to NASA, the impact of monsoon rains has been compounded with the ongoing melting of the glaciers in the country, which has the most glacial ice found outside of the poles.
The UN has launched a $160 million emergency plan to help Pakistan with the devastating flooding. “These funds will provide 5.2 million people with food, water, sanitation, emergency education, protection and health support”, said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He asked for solidarity from the international community, and urged to “stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change”.
The country’s authorities have estimated the damage caused by floods in more than $10 billion, and said the world has an obligation to help the country deal with the effects of climate change. Pakistan is one of the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events, despite having a very low carbon footprint. Pakistan last faced widespread flooding in 2010, when more than 2,000 people died.