Islamabad, Pakistan, 29 August 2022 – The Aga Khan Development Network is responding to the devastating floods in Pakistan by evacuating residents to safer areas, and providing food, shelter and health care.
Over 1,000 people have died in Pakistan since June, in the worst floods the country has experienced in over a decade. The country is in a state of emergency, with Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman describing the situation as a climate-induced humanitarian disaster, or as she tweeted on 28 August:
“Pakistan has never seen an unbroken cycle of monsoons like this. 8 weeks of non-stop torrents have left huge swathes of the country under water. This is no normal season, this is a deluge from all sides, impacting 33 million plus people, which is the size of a small country.”
A combination of the rise in sea surface temperatures and the heatwaves over recent weeks have almost tripled the average rainfall across much of Pakistan, which is located in one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. There has been severe flooding in Karachi and other parts of the country.
In the North, the heatwaves have also caused glacier melt and river levels are still rising. Though the communities in this mountainous region have long dealt with increased risks to natural hazards, this summer the multiplier effect of a warming climate is particularly alarming. Since June 160 incidents have been reported in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral.
When floods strike, drowning is only one of many threats. The lack of food and shelter, combined with sewage and waterborne diseases, are a significant concern. The destruction of homes, crops, livestock, schools, hospitals and transport infrastructure is set to cause longer-term difficulty for millions.