Pakistan’s devastating floodwaters could take 6 months to recede

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Catastrophic floods in Pakistan have submerged vast swaths of farmland, engulfed entire villages and turned some communities into islands – and the water is unlikely to run out anytime soon.

The floodwaters will take about three to six months to fully recede, Sindh provincial chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said in a statement, according to CNN. By the end of August, the southern province had already received nearly six times more rainfall than its 30-year annual average.

These rains combined with the melting ice caused the floods that devastated the country.

“We live on an island now,” cotton farmer Muhammad Jaffar told The New York Times in an article published this week. The dirty water had completely drowned his fields, as well as the well he used to drink water.

Victims of floods caused by monsoon rains carry scavenged belongings to their flooded house in Dadu district of Sindh province, Pakistan on September 9, 2022.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority said the floods had killed at least 1,314 people, including 458 children, according to The Guardian. About 33 million others have been affected by the floods. Many have had to flee their waterlogged homes to stay in shelters or tent encampments.

On Wednesday, internally displaced people affected by the floods took refuge in a makeshift camp in Dadu district, Sindh province.
On Wednesday, internally displaced people affected by the floods took refuge in a makeshift camp in Dadu district, Sindh province.

And those who have been able to stay home face lack of access to food, clean water and medicine. A woman told The Times that her teenage cousin had to swim 20 minutes through snake-filled floodwaters to get to a village and buy food for her family.

Disease-carrying mosquitoes also thrive in stagnant floodwaters. Sindh’s capital, Karachi, is facing an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever, with hundreds of thousands of cases, Pakistan’s Climate Minister Sherry Rehman has said.

A man pushes his auto-rickshaw down a flooded street after heavy rain in Karachi on Tuesday.
A man pushes his auto-rickshaw down a flooded street after heavy rain in Karachi on Tuesday.

RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier this month, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bhutto Zardari called the floods “a weather disaster of biblical proportions” in an interview with CNBC.

Climate change has fueled the floods in multiple ways. Intense heat waves earlier in the year caused the air to retain more moisture, and meteorologists at the time said this would lead to “above normal” rainfall during the winter season. monsoon, Islamabad water resources engineer Zia Hashmi told the Nature newspaper. That same heat has melted the glaciers in the north of the country, swelling the rivers that lead south.

“Pakistan right now is paying with its life and livelihood for a climate catastrophe that is not its fault,” Zardari told CNBC. The network noted that while Pakistan contributes less than 1% of global carbon emissions, it is one of the 10 countries hardest hit by rising temperatures.



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