Deadly Monsoons Hit Harder in Pakistan
By: Emily Zhang
Flash floods, hard rains, drowning – Pakistan’s monsoon season has arrived again. Of course, this happens every year. But this year’s floods have been brutal, killing at least 282 people in the past five weeks, destroying over 5,600 homes. The rains have been 87% heavier than average, a change that climate experts say might be due to climate change.
Pakistan has been one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, suffering over $4 billion in climate related damages between 1998 and 2018.
It is estimated that nearly 10,000 Pakistani lives have been lost due to the monsoons. Among these lost lives are the wife and child of Danish, a carpenter. He was riding a motorcycle with his wife and two children when they fell into an open drain after the floods washed over the roads, turning them into rivers. Danish and his three-year-old daughter were rescued, but his wife and his two-year-old son drowned before residents could save them.
“It was not rain that killed my wife and child,” Danish retorts, “It was the government’s incompetence and people’s helplessness.”
There are many debates on whether the government is doing enough to help Pakistan. The flooded roads, the sewage-filled houses, the cut electricity, the collapsing buildings, protest for the government officials to take steps to protect Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. Even though the prime minister gave a $14 million package to repair the damage and stock up on supplies, not much has changed two years later.
Wasim Akhtar, a former mayor, blames the officials that controls the city’s local status. Mr. Shah, the chief minister, counters this by blaming the severity of the rain and saying that the provincial government managed the situation “in the best way it could”.
Jumaina Siddiqui, senior program officer for South Asia at the U.S. Institute of Peace, takes this debate at a slightly different angle. “All of these problems stem from the city being poorly governed and exploited by multiple political parties vying for control of the city’s economic resources, but all failing to deliver basic services to its residents.” She says at a news conference.
In the meantime, residents of Karachi are trying their best to salvage their items from their destroyed neighborhoods but are having little luck. Traders, a big part of the market, failed to shift their stands to safe spots because there was too much water on the roads, making them impassable.
Taking a few steps back, climate change is the main problem everyone should be paying attention to. Pakistan’s severe floods are just a small peak of what would happen if climate change never stopped.