Since August, Pakistan has faced intense amounts of flooding unlike anything seen before in the nation’s history. It is described as a “crisis of unimaginable proportions” by Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s federal minister for climate change.
This past August marked the wettest month for Pakistan since the 1960s, recording rainfall levels three times their average for the season. This drastic change in rainfall left the Indus River, which runs the length of the country, overflowing with water and destroying crop supplies, roads and homes. The destruction has turned whole families’ lives upside down, leaving many with nowhere to go. The flooding worsened issues with Pakistan’s socioeconomic status and finances. It pushed their healthcare system to its limits as casualties rise and more people seek aid after their livelihoods are washed away.
Since June, there has been over 1,000 reported causalities from monsoon flooding according to National Public Radio (NPR). By current rough estimates from authorities, it will take somewhere around $10 billion to rebuild the infrastructure and homes that were swept off or severely damaged. The United States has pledged to chip in to help Pakistan recover from this tragedy, giving $30 million to go towards food, shelter and sanitation for those who need it.
The large question that remains is why is Pakistan facing such an unusual amount of rainfall in such a short time. “Evidence suggests climate played an important role in the event,” Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at London’s Imperial College, said.
Rising global temperatures due to increased greenhouse gas emissions have proven to increase water levels, extreme temperature changes and increase rainfall and droughts. These new weather extremes can cause what we see in Pakistan. With no end in sight to our current climate crisis, we are sure to see more of this in the future; Not just in Pakistan, but globally.