MMore than 1,000 people have died as a result of extreme rain and flooding in Pakistan. From the particularly badly hit areas in the south of the country, recordings are made available to the public, with the help of which the destructive power of the dark water masses becomes at least comprehensible. With enormous force, the floods destroy houses and bridges, tear down mountain slopes and flood entire towns.
The extent of the human tragedies can only be guessed at based on these reports. There are now tens of thousands who have had to leave their homes. They set off with their belongings on bicycles, mopeds and trucks. A television station showed a long line of heavily laden vans on a narrow sandy road, washed on either side by water.
Some local residents have also built improvised rafts out of beds and plastic canisters, in which they make their way across the water. The refugees live in roadside tents, in mosques and schools. Lessons can no longer take place under these circumstances anyway. After a visit to the flooded area, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif admitted at the weekend that the devastation was even worse than feared. Climate Protection Minister Sherry Rehman spoke to the media about a catastrophe of “epic proportions”. The humanitarian crisis could even surpass the consequences of the extreme floods of 2010. “Nearly 30 million people have no shelter. Thousands have been displaced and have no food,” the minister said. This affects around 15 percent of the Pakistani population.
According to the National Crisis Authority, 1,033 people have died as a result of the disaster since mid-June. 119 people were killed on Saturday alone. The country has never experienced such a wild and intense monsoon, the minister said. She warned that more monsoon rains are forecast for September. In the end, a third of the country could be under water. Based on such situation reports from the affected areas, the government in Islamabad has already declared a state of emergency and asked the international community for help. The military was mobilized to help with evacuations.
The natural disaster hits a population that is already struggling with existential problems as a result of government debt, inflation and the energy crisis. Many refugees are now starving, and stand in front of the helpers’ food distribution with wide-eyed eyes.
Many fields have been destroyed by the floods, with unforeseeable consequences for the medium-term supply situation. The climate minister, who now has a strong presence in the media, does not hold back with her judgment that there is a small connection between the flood, global warming and its consequences. According to the non-governmental organization Germanwatch, Pakistan has long been one of the countries most severely affected by the consequences of climate change. In the spring, Pakistan was hit by an extreme heat wave. The rains have been continuing since June. According to the meteorologists, they are almost five times as strong as the 30-year average. So far, the southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan have been particularly affected. But since Saturday, tens of thousands have also been fleeing in the north. Rivers have turned into torrents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. After a bridge was torn down, several districts are now cut off from the outside world.