Pakistan faces catastrophic flooding driven by climate change

Pakistan faces catastrophic flooding driven by climate change

“Pakistan is awash in suffering,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, as he launched a major push for emergency humanitarian and disaster recovery aid in Islamabad and Geneva. Guterres’ press office described the situation as an “unprecedented climate catastrophe.” So far, reporting finds:

  • 1/3 of Pakistan is flooded;
  • 1,136 people are confirmed dead;
  • 33 million people have been affected by the floods;
  • 1 million homes have been destroyed;
  • 500,000 people are sheltering in camps;
  • An estimated 800,000 livestock have perished;
  • The floods have caused more than $10 billion in damage—roughly 3% of Pakistan’s GDP.

Muhammad Raza Qazi—a citizen volunteer climate advocate in Pakistan who is personally involved in relief efforts—reports the floods are causing damage on a scale not seen in living memory, with millions rendered homeless, nearly a million livestock lost and millions of acres of crops swept away and destroyed. “There is a massive scale food crisis looming,” he writes. He asks for immediate assistance to the people affected and calls on world governments to take urgent action to hold global heating to no more than 1.5ºC.

  • The World Food Programme is working to address immediate food supply disruptions, aiming to support 500,000 people in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh;
  • The World Health Organization warns of a wide array of significant health risks, including as a result of 900 healthcare facilities being damaged;
  • The 2021 Global Climate Risk Index lists Pakistan as one of the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events.

The catastrophic flooding comes on top of a devastating heat wave earlier this year. The new round of extreme climate impacts not only adds to the cost and vulnerability; it compounds both and undermines overall resilience, even as global heating intensifies and impacts become more frequent and more costly.