Bridge Collapse Amid Heat Wave in Pakistan Raises Fears of Massive Glacier Melt Flooding

Record-high temperatures in Pakistan caused Shisper glacier to melt rapidly, triggering the collapse of the Hassanabad Bridge along the Karakoram Highway last week.  With 7,253 known glaciers, Pakistan is home to more glacial ice than any other country on earth outside the polar regions. If these start melting in increasingly severe heat waves, there could be massive flooding in the country. Pakistan is among the most vulnerable to climate change. 

Hasanabad Bridge Collapse in Pakistan

India and Pakistan have been hit by a severe heat wave very early this summer.  Jacobabad, a city in Sindh province, hit 122ºF (50ºC) in April, one of the highest April temperatures recorded in the world. Dadu, another city in Sindh, recorded 117ºF (47ºC). "This is the first time in decades that Pakistan is experiencing what many call a 'spring-less year," Pakistan's Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman said in a statement. The consequences of rising temperatures in South Asia could be very severe, ranging from crop losses, food shortages and floods. 

Record High Temperature in Jacobabad, Pakistan

Pakistan's contribution to global carbon emissions is less than 1% but it is still ranked among countries most vulnerable to climate change. The energy-hungry nation needs help to finance climate-friendly  development of clean energy sources and climate-resilient infrastructure. Last year at COP26 conference in Glasgow, Pakistan provided its NDCs 2021 (national determined contribution 2021) to the United Nations ahead. Some of Pakistan's NDC targets are voluntary while others are contingent upon the receipt of financial assistance from the rich nations most responsible for the climate crisis. Some of Pakistan's solution are nature-based such as its Billion Tree Afforestation Project (BTAP) while others require significant increase in low-carbon energy from wind, solar, hydro and nuclear.  

Pakistan NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) For Climate Goals. Source: UN

 Malik Amin Aslam, former Prime Minister Imran Khan's special assistant on climate change, said in an interview with CNN that his country is seeking to change its energy mix to favor green.  He said Pakistan's 60% renewable energy target would be based on solar, wind and hydro power projects, and 40% would come from hydrocarbon and nuclear which is also low-carbon. “Nuclear power has to be part of the country’s energy mix for future as a zero energy emission source for clean and green future,” he concluded. Here are the key points Aslam made to Becky Anderson of CNN:

1. Pakistan wants to be a part of the solution even though it accounts for less than 1% of global carbon emissions. . Extreme weather events are costing Pakistan significant losses of lives and property.

2. Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

3. Pakistan is moving towards renewable energy by converting 60% of its energy mix to renewable by 2030. Electric vehicle (EV) transition is also beginning in his country. 

4. Aslam said:  “We are one of the world leaders on nature based solutions. However, the World Bank (WB) in its Report yesterday came up with really good numbers in a comparison done of countries who are shifting their mainstream development towards environment friendly policies and Pakistan came atop among them,” the SAPM explained. 

Pakistan Power Generation Fuel Mix. Source: Third Pole

Here's a video of Malik Amin Aslam's interview with CNN's Becky Anderson:


Riaz Haq said…
Heatwave across Pakistan is creating a major health crisis with mercury shooting as high as 51 degrees Celsius in Jacobabad, Sindh on Saturday.

Citing The News, Geo News reported that numerous cases of acute kidney injury (AKI) caused by heatstroke, acute water diarrhoea and gastroenteritis have been reported from all over the country, especially Sindh and Punjab as extremely hot weather scorches these areas.

Residents said that prolonged drought and unavailability of clean water are compelling people to drink contaminated water to beat the heat.

Unconfirmed reports suggest at least three people died of acute water diarrhoea in a remote area of Sindh, Kaccha, in Dadu as the temperature rose to 49°Celsius, reported Geo News.

Director Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) Dr Rahim Bux Bhatti said patients with AKI, acute gastroenteritis and other symptoms of heatstroke due to prolonged exposure to the sun are being brought to their heatstroke camp.

"The entire area is in the grip of an intense heatwave for the last few days," he said while speaking to The News.

Director-General Health, Sindh, Dr Jumman Bahoto, said there were some 'confirmed' reports of deaths and sickness due to heatstroke and waterborne diseases in some cities and towns of the province, which were experiencing an intense heatwave these days, adding that he had directed all the District Health Officers (DHOs) to collect data as well as establish heat stroke camps in their jurisdiction, reported Geo News.

"A rise in the cases of acute watery diarrhoea and other waterborne illnesses are being reported from Dadu's remote areas while some cases of heatstroke have also been reported as temperature shot up to 51° Celsius in some areas of the province. We have issued directives to the health authorities to establish heatstroke camps, provide clean drinking water and ORS to patients and provide timely medical treatment to them," DG Health Sindh added.

As daytime temperatures became unbearable in many cities of Punjab, health authorities said many traffic wardens and common people who remained exposed to sunlight in Lahore had acute kidney injuries due to dehydration. They were taken to different city health facilities, including Jinnah Hospital Lahore for treatment.

"Dozens of people, especially traffic wardens in Lahore, fainted due to dehydration over long exposure to sunlight in the intense heat and they were shifted to different hospitals. We have decided to distribute umbrellas and awareness pamphlets among people in Lahore to prevent them from permanent disability and death due to heatstroke," eminent physician and Vice-Chancellor of University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore Prof Javed Akram said.

The National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, also warned of an increase in the cases of heatstroke and water-borne diseases due to extremely high temperatures in different parts of the country, saying heatstroke is a medical emergency and proves fatal if not managed properly, reported Geo News.

"A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which also causes the body temperature to rise. Common signs and symptoms of heatstroke are hot and dry skin or profuse sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin, weakness/lethargy, throbbing headache, elevated body temperature, irritability, dizziness, decrease urine output, heat rash (red cluster of pimples or small blisters)," an advisory issued by the NIH in the wake of intense heatwave said
Riaz Haq said…
#India bans #wheat #exports as #heatwave hurts crop, domestic prices soar. India is not among world's top wheat exporters but its ban could drive global prices to new peaks given already tight supply, hitting poor consumers in #Asia and #Africa. #Modi #BJP

The officials added that there was no dramatic fall in wheat output this year, but unregulated exports had led to a rise in local prices.
"We don't want wheat trade to happen in an unregulated manner or hoarding to happen," commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam told reporters in New Delhi.
Although not one of the world's top wheat exporters, India's ban could drive global prices to new peaks given already tight supply, hitting poor consumers in Asia and Africa particularly hard.
"The ban is shocking," a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm said. "We were expecting curbs on exports after two to three months, but it seems like the inflation numbers changed the government's mind."
Rising food and energy prices pushed India's annual retail inflation near an eight-year high in April, strengthening expectations that the central bank would raise interest rates more aggressively.
Wheat prices in India have risen to record highs, in some spot markets hitting 25,000 rupees ($320) per tonne, well above the government's minimum support price of 20,150 rupees.

Rising fuel, labor, transportation and packaging costs are also boosting the price of wheat flour in India.
"It was not wheat alone. The rise in overall prices raised concerns about inflation and that's why the government had to ban wheat exports," said another senior government official who asked not to be named as discussions about export curbs were private. "For us, it's abundance of caution."

India this week outlined its record export target for the fiscal year that started on April 1, saying it would send trade delegations to countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia and the Philippines to explore ways to boost shipments.
In February, the government forecast production of 111.32 million tonnes, the sixth straight record crop, but it cut the forecast to 105 million tonnes in May.
A spike in temperatures in mid-March means the crop could instead be around 100 million tonnes or even lower, said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm.
"The government's procurement has fallen more than 50%. Spot markets are getting far lower supplies than last year. All these things are indicating lower crop," the dealer said.
Riaz Haq said…
Trango Towers, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

There are some impressive and extremely difficult rock towers around the world, competing in being the hardest to climb. One of the more famous and possibly the group of peaks that would get the most votes for being the toughest is the Trango Tower Peaks. There are two main summits in the central part of the group: Great Trango Tower (6286m) and Nameless Tower (6230m) a.k.a. just Trango Tower.
The group is reasonable easy to access as it is located much closer to civilization than many other popular peaks in Pakistan. You would suspect a peak like Trango Tower is an expensive climb, but it isn’t. Like all other peaks in Pakistan the price tag on the permit is determined by the peak’s elevation and therefore Trango Tower comes at a very affordable price. More about this in the red tape section..
The peaks have some of the highest vertical faces on the planet and were for a long time some of the most coveted mountaineering challenges. It was not until 1975 the area opened for climbing and the race for the hard-to-reach summits began.

Great Trango Tower has three routes straight up the E/NE face and a couple of alpine routes on the NW and W sides of the peak. Nameless Tower has been climbed via many routes, which all are located on its SE and SW faces. It's said the quality of the granite is very good on both the main peaks as well as on the lesser peaks in the area.

Afzal's list of the peaks in the core group.

Trango Group have the following peaks:
1- Kruksum (S)6650-M
2- Kruksum (N)6600-M
3- Trango Ri (II)6515-M
4- Trango Ri (1) 6452-M
5- Kruksum (E) 6300-M
6- Trano Ri (III) 6300-M
7- Trano Ri (IV) 6300-M
8- Great Trango (I) 6286-M
9- Nameless Tower 6239-M
10-Great Trango (II) 6237-M
11-Great Trango (III) 6231-M
12-Munk 6150-M
Riaz Haq said…

Dawar Butt
FYI: Looks like the news about lower #Mango🥭 production in Punjab is false. Crisis averted… production is 1.45 million tonnes this year, compared to 1.32 million tonnes last year. Increase of 10% in South Punjab, overall increase of 9.8%.
Riaz Haq said…
Climate change swells odds of record India, Pakistan heatwaves
By Justin Rowlatt

Climate change makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely, a Met Office study finds.

The region should now expect a heatwave that exceeds the record temperatures seen in 2010 once every three years.

Without climate change, such extreme temperatures would occur only once every 312 years, the Met Office says.

The report comes as forecasters say temperatures in north-west India could reach new highs in the coming days.

The extreme pre-monsoon heatwave the region has suffered in recent weeks eased a little after peak temperatures reached 51C in Pakistan on Saturday.

But the heat looks likely to build again towards the end of this week and into the weekend, the Met Office's Global Guidance Unit warns.

It says maximum temperatures are likely to reach 50C in some spots, with continued very high overnight temperatures.

"Spells of heat have always been a feature of the region's pre-monsoon climate during April and May," says Dr Nikos Christidis, who led the team responsible for today's study.

"However, our study shows that climate change is driving the heat intensity of these spells making record-breaking temperatures 100 times more likely."

The new study is based on the heatwave that gripped northwest India and Pakistan in April and May 2010 when the region experienced the highest combined April and May average temperature since 1900.

It attempts to estimate the extent to which climate change made that and future events more likely.

These "attribution studies" involve running computer simulations comparing how frequently a weather event is likely to occur in two scenarios.

One models the climate as it is today, the other a climate where the human influence on greenhouse gases and other drivers of climate change has been removed.

The scenarios are run through 14 different computer models and produce dozens of different simulations which are compared to work out how climate change has altered the probability of an event happening.

The Met Office used the same method to assess the impact of future climate change and warns that worse is to come.

If climate change follows the Met Office's central predictions, by the end of the century India and Pakistan can expect similarly high temperatures virtually every year, today's study suggests.

Riaz Haq said…
With Iran’s help, fire in Balochistan’s chilgoza forest nearly put out

At least 90% of the fire that engulfed Balochistan’s Sherani forest has been put out after an Iranian firefighting aircraft having capacity of 50,000 litres of water has started operation to extinguish the flames.

The neighbouring country’s firefighter has the capacity of 50,000 litres of water and it has completed two rounds of the affected area since morning, Niaz Kakar, an official of the Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department told Aaj News.

“The firefighter started operation on Monday and at least 70% of the flames were put off till yesterday,” he said. The helicopter is operating from Mianwali airbase as it is easier to refill the water from there, he added.

He said the teams of forest department were continuously monitoring the on ground area for any sparks that were left on the forest’s base.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Iranian consulate in Quetta had said that the plane, Ilyushin 76, is the “biggest firefighter aircraft” in the world. The airplane would remain in Pakistan till the fire has been extinguished, the spokesperson added.

The fire has affected at least 10,700 acres of the forest that mainly comprises chilgoza (pine nut) trees ahead of the operation by the Iranian firefighter on Monday.

At least 10 to 12 villages are located in the forest in the Koh-e-Sulaiman mountain range that connects Balochistan to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, social worker and tribal elder Malik Abdul Sattar told Aaj News.

The government has dispatched relief items, including beds, for the affected people but the goods have not arrived due to the difficult route leading to the villages, he added.

The trees belonged to three tribes of the area whose livelihood depended on chilgoza. “Their life line has been destroyed,” he added.

The fire started on May 10 in KP’s Dera Ismail Khan and the blaze moved towards Sherani district on May 13.

People who live in the forest tried to put out the fire but their “miscalculation” caused the loss of three lives. At least 10 people, including community members and forest department officials, were injured while battling the blaze.

The Balochistan Provincial Disaster Management Authority tweeted late Monday that local administration, army and FC personnel along with local volunteers and forest department workers remain engaged in relief activities. PDMA rescue team 1122 is also on alert, it added.

Riaz Haq said…
#Climatechange boosted odds of record #heat in #Pakistan and #India. Key farming areas in India are expected to see a 10 to 35% decrease in #crop #yields due to #heatwave, driving up local market #prices & reducing global #wheat supplies. #Modi #wheatban

The extreme heat experienced by India and Pakistan in March and April was the most intense, widespread and persistent in the region’s recorded history. A study released Monday finds that human-caused climate change had made this historic event at least 30 times as likely. It determined that climate change elevated temperatures of the heat wave by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (one degree Celsius) compared to pre-industrial times.

“What was particularly exceptional and particularly unusual was how early it started,” Friederike Otto, co-author of the study, said in a news conference on Monday.

India experienced its highest March temperatures in 122 years, and Pakistan and northwestern and central India endured their hottest April. Numerous all-time and monthly temperature records were broken across both countries. Over the two months, extreme heat affected nearly 70 percent of India and 30 percent of Pakistan.

This heat event would have been “highly, highly unlikely” in a world without climate change, said Arpita Mondal, a co-author and professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

The heat took an enormous toll on people throughout the region. Workers were no longer able to work full days outside, putting a strain on their livelihoods and the economy. Key farming areas in India are expected to see a 10 to 35 percent decrease in crop yields due to the heat wave, driving up local market prices and reducing global wheat supplies at a time when supplies are already under stress because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of forest fires also burned across India. In Pakistan, snowmelt caused a glacial lake to flood and wipe out a key bridge.

Across the two countries, at least 90 deaths have been tied to the heat.

The analysis was conducted by the group World Weather Attribution, which uses computer modeling to investigate the links between ongoing weather events and climate change. The team ran simulations using 20 different models with and without the effects of human-induced climate change to determine the effect of rising temperatures on the magnitude of the heat. The results, which are not yet peer-reviewed, come from well-established methodologies that have been used in past analyses, including one conducted on the 2021 Pacific Northwest heat wave.


“We have studied many heat waves, and in all cases but one climate change was clearly assessed as the main driver of the change in the likelihood,” said Robert Vautard, director of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute in France and co-author of several studies with World Weather Attribution.

Northern India and Pakistan face another round of heat later this week. After some relatively cool weather the next several days, temperatures are forecast to rise several degrees above average Friday into the weekend.
Riaz Haq said…
A Heat Wave’s Lamented Victim: The Mango, India’s King of Fruits
Blistering spring temperatures have devastated crops of the country’s most beloved fruit. “The soul of a farmer shudders at seeing these fruitless trees,” one grower said.

India is the world’s largest mango producer, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the global crop. Much of it is consumed domestically, but the country exports tens of millions of dollars’ worth of mangoes each year to the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Germany and the United States. Over the past decade, India has been trying to penetrate markets in other European Union countries as well.

In the past, export growth has been limited by the higher costs of Indian mangoes compared with those from countries like Brazil, Peru, Israel and Pakistan. India has been striving to increase productivity, which would lower costs.

Even before the extreme heat, India’s mango exports had been badly damaged by the supply chain disruptions of the pandemic, with shipments abroad shrinking by almost 50 percent last year. India’s top export organization had hoped for a big turnaround this year as the Indian and U.S. governments eased trade rules.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's mango production to fall by 50% due to heatwave, water shortage

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 26 (Reuters) - Pakistan's mango production is expected to decline by around 50% this year, as the crop has been severely hit by unusually high temperatures and water shortages, the chief of a growers' and exporters' association said.

Riaz Haq said…
Is Pakistan paying attention to existential environment crises?
Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage and climate change is damaging crops. The public health system, meanwhile, is in a disarray. To deal with these challenges, the country's authorities need long-term planning.

Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage, with experts saying the country would run out of water by 2040 if the authorities don't take long-term measures to deal with the problem.

The recent heat wave has damaged crops and caused food shortages in the country. It comes at a time when the Islamic nation has yet to fully recover from the COVID pandemic and its devastating toll on the public health sector and economy.

Experts say that degradation of natural resources, soil erosion, deforestation, unbridled and unplanned urbanization and contamination of ground water are some of the many serious issues that need immediate attention from the government.

Tariq Banuri, a leading environmental expert, believes that the most crucial challenges for Pakistan include the impacts of climate change — floods, heat waves, drought, crop losses and diseases — whose frequency has increased rapidly over the past couple of decades.

"Air pollution has also emerged as a big problem in large parts of the country, affecting health as well as transport and mobility, while water pollution is killing thousands of people every year. Around 80% of Pakistan's population do not have access to clean drinking water," he told DW.

Water crisis
Researchers predict that Pakistan is on its way to becoming the most water-stressed country in the region by the year 2040.

According to a 2018 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan ranked third in the world among countries facing acute water shortage. Reports by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) also warn the authorities that the South Asian country will reach absolute water scarcity by 2025.

In 2016, PCRWR reported that Pakistan touched the "water stress line" in 1990 and crossed the "water scarcity line" in 2005. If this situation persists, Pakistan is likely to face an acute water shortage or a drought-like situation in the near future, according to PCRWR, which is affiliated with the nation's Ministry of Science and Technology.

Pakistan has the world's fourth-highest rate of water use. Its water intensity rate — the amount of water, in cubic meters, used per unit of GDP — is the world's highest.

Environmental degradation
Environment specialist Rahat Jabeen writes in a World Bank blog that every year Pakistan loses almost 27,000 hectares of natural forest area, explaining that almost three-quarters of the country's population use forest resources for a lack of alternative energy resources.

Pakistan is among the top ten countries in the world that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to Mome Saleem, an environmental activist.

"The agriculture land is being used for housing projects, which has resulted in the loss of trees and extreme heat waves. No attention is being paid to depleting water, which is already scarce," she added.

"Pakistan must have at least 25% of the forest cover, but we are also not doing well on this front. The government is not preventing the cutting down of trees, which is happening on a massive scale. A dilapidated public transport system and low-quality fuel cause a significant rise in carbon, but unfortunately the government is not taking measures to mitigate the hazard," she added.

Economic toll
All this is taking a huge toll on the economy. According to a report by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, the annual monetary cost of environmental degradation alone is equivalent to around 4.3% of GDP.
Riaz Haq said…
Is Pakistan paying attention to existential environment crises?
Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage and climate change is damaging crops. The public health system, meanwhile, is in a disarray. To deal with these challenges, the country's authorities need long-term planning.

Economic toll
All this is taking a huge toll on the economy. According to a report by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, the annual monetary cost of environmental degradation alone is equivalent to around 4.3% of GDP.

Hasan Abbas, an Islamabad-based expert, criticizes the authorities for not paying proper attention to environmental problems.

Saleem says that despite the fact that Pakistan ranks 142 on the environment performance indicator, the government has not taken concrete actions to deal with the challenges.

Saleem believes the reason behind the negligence to such existential crises is its fixation on economic growth.

Abbas is of the opinion that Pakistan needs a green economic model. "Scrap all big hydro-power and coal-power projects. We need to switch to wind and solar power, which are viable for countries like Pakistan," he suggested.

Kishwar Zehra, a government official, says it is easier said than done. "Pakistan is already under huge debts. It cannot overcome these challenges without assistance from the international community. And this assistance should not be in the form of loans; we should be given [financial] aid to deal with them," she said.
Riaz Haq said…
Flood in #India & #Bangladesh leave millions homeless, at least 28 dead. 15 people were killed by lightning strikes in Bangladesh, while 4 died in landslides. At least 9 people killed in India's #Assam state. #ClimateCrisis #SouthAsia via @TheWeek

Millions of homes are underwater and at least 28 people have died as widespread flooding caused by monsoons ravaged Bangladesh and northeastern India, Reuters and The Associated Press reported.

Fifteen people were reportedly killed by lightning strikes in Bangladesh, while four died in landslides. At least nine people have been killed in India's Assam state.

Both countries have called out their armies to help distribute food aid and rescue stranded people, with soldiers using "speedboats and inflatable rafts to navigate through submerged areas," according to AP.

Rain is expected to continue through Sunday, at least, exacerbating what one Bangladeshi government expert described as the region's worst flooding since 2004.

Bangladesh, a low-lying country with more than 130 rivers, is highly vulnerable to flooding. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that, due to climate change, some 27 million Bangladeshis may have to be relocated over the next decade.
Riaz Haq said…
#Floods in #India & #Bangladesh Kill at Least 116, Flooded an #airport, knocking down #cellphone towers, bridges and power lines, cutting off #communications for millions of people, undoing almost a decade of progress on building #roads, #infrastructure.

This latest catastrophic flooding comes less than a month after extreme rainfall submerged towns, causing widespread misery in the region.

On Monday, officials in Assam, a state in northeastern India bordering Bangladesh, said all the state’s 33 districts were affected by the floods, which they blamed for undoing almost a decade of progress on building roads, bridges and other infrastructure connecting far-flung towns and villages dotted across the state’s lush green mountains. At least 73 people have died as a result of the disaster in the state, according to news reports.

More than 400 rescuers have been deployed in the state, said H.P.S. Kandari, a commander with India’s National Disaster Response Force.

In the neighboring state of Meghalaya, extremely heavy rainfall pummeled the towns of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, in one of the wettest regions in the world. On Friday, Mawsynram recorded about 40 inches of rainfall in a single day, one of the wettest in June since 1966. In the Dangar area nearby, at least five people in one family were killed in a landslide on Monday, Conrad Sangma, the state’s chief minister, said on Twitter.

The record-shattering rain in the state has also led to extensive flooding across the border in Bangladesh, where rivers were already overflowing. “We haven’t seen such rainfall in many, many years,” said Dr. Tarekul Islam, a professor at the Institute of Water and Flood Management at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Dhaka, the capital.

Dr. Islam said the heavy rainfall flooded the country’s Sylhet region, one of the worst affected since last month, when the floodwaters of the Brahmaputra and other rivers broke their banks and inundated large parts of the low-lying nation of about 170 million people.

Since the May flooding, more than four million people in northeastern Bangladesh have been left homeless, including 1.6 million children, said the United Nations Children’s Fund in a news release on Monday. “Children need safe drinking water right now,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF’s representative to Bangladesh. “Preventing deadly waterborne diseases is one of several critical concerns.”

At least 38 people have died in Bangladesh because of the latest flooding, according to the Foundation for Disaster Forum, a Dhaka-based nonprofit working to provide food and shelter to people in Sylhet. Days of rainfall and flooding have knocked down mobile phone towers and forced the authorities to snap power lines to prevent electrocution.

Selim Miah, a farmer who lives in the Gowainghat subdistrict of Sylhet, said his home was washed away by the floods.

All his 10-member family had at the moment, he said, was some puffed rice, molasses and a two-liter bottle of drinking water, which relief workers had provided to them.

“I have never seen an extensive flood like this,” said Mr. Miah, 29. “When the flood water entered our living room, we put everything we had on top of the tin roof, including our cattle. But we could not stay like that because the water also reached the roof.”

Over the weekend, with the power lines still down, Bangladesh’s health ministry ordered officials in Sylhet to provide critical electricity support to the Sylhet M.A.G. Osmani Medical College, one of the main hospitals in the region, by using diesel-powered generators.

One of Bangladesh’s largest airports, the Osmani International Airport in Sylhet, was still flooded on Monday after rainwater forced officials to cancel all flights on Friday.
Riaz Haq said…
Heavy #monsoon rains leave 17 dead in 3 days in #Pakistan. Streets, homes were flooded in parts of #Quetta, the capital of #Baluchistan, the provincial disaster management agency said. #Rains have inundated areas across Pakistan, disrupting normal life.

Three days of monsoon rains left at least 17 people dead and damaged dozens of homes across southwest Pakistan, officials said Wednesday.

Streets and homes were flooded in various parts of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, the provincial disaster management agency said. Rains have inundated areas across Pakistan, disrupting normal life.

Sherry Rehman, the minister for climate change, told a news conference in the capital of Islamabad that 77 people were killed in rain-related incidents in Pakistan since June.

She said 39 people died in rain-related incidents in Baluchistan during that period.

Naseer Nasar, a spokesman at the Baluchistan disaster management agency, told The Associated Press that 50 people were injured in rain-related incidents in the province since June. He said rescuers were transporting people to safer places away from floods and rain-hit areas.

Every year, many cities in Pakistan struggle to cope with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about poor government planning. The season runs from July through September.
Riaz Haq said…
#Floods in Pakistan kills dozens as monsoon #rains lash country. #Pakistan has received 87% more rain this #monsoon season so far compared with past years, according to #Environment & #ClimateChange Ministry. #GlobalWarming #ClimateCrisis via @AJEnglish

In the southern province of Balochistan 57 people including women and children have been killed and hundreds left homeless.

Intense floods have killed dozens of people and left hundreds homeless in Pakistan as heavy monsoon rains battered the country, officials said.

In the southern province of Balochistan, 57 people, including women and children, were killed after being swept away in rising flood waters, Ziaullah Langove, the disaster and home affairs adviser to the province’s chief minister, said on Saturday.

Eight dams had burst due to the heavy rains, Langove said.

Hundreds more people were left homeless after their homes collapsed under the rain and flood waters, he said, adding that the torrential monsoon rains were continuing.

In Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province two people, including a six-year-old, died and four were injured when their house collapsed, according to a district official statement.

Heavy rains have lashed Pakistan in recent days, leaving large swathes of the largest city, Karachi, inundated with water.

Pakistan’s Navy said it was joining efforts to evacuate citizens and deliver rations and fresh water in Balochistan.

In 2010, the worst floods in memory affected 20 million people in Pakistan, with damage to infrastructure running into billions of dollars and huge swaths of crops destroyed as one-

fifth of the country was inundated.

Seasonal monsoon rains, a lifeline for farmers across South Asia, also typically cause deaths and property damage every year.

Pakistan has received 87 percent more rain this monsoon season so far compared with past years, according to the Environment and Climate Change Ministry.

In neighbouring Afghanistan, 24 people have been killed by floods in the east and south of the country, a disaster management agency spokesman said on Friday.

Monsoon rains last month also caused widespread flooding in northeastern Bangladesh and India, stranding some six million people and killing dozens. The flooding in Bangladesh was described by a government expert as potentially the country’s worst since 2004.

India and Bangladesh have also experienced more frequent extreme weather events in recent years, causing large-scale damage.

Environmentalists warn climate change could lead to more disasters, especially in low-lying and densely populated Bangladesh.
Riaz Haq said…

The Mysteriously Low Death Toll of the Heat Waves in India and Pakistan

The monthslong heat in South Asia breached these levels at several points. In Jacobabad, Pakistan, a small city of less than 200,000, wet-bulb temperatures briefly hit 91.4 in May. Late last month, with the monsoons bringing humidity with them, the wet-bulb in Delhi, where almost 20 million people live, reportedly reached as high as 92.7. The readings produced a wave of climate panic: Berkeley Earth’s Robert Rohde warned “this heat wave is likely to kill thousands,” and The Washington Post reported “India’s heat waves are testing the limits of human survival.” (I had the same worry, as did others at The Times, The Economist, the World Economic Forum and elsewhere.)

And yet while there have been casualties and brutal impacts, these events do not yet appear to have caused mass death. An early estimate of the death toll was just 90 across India and Pakistan, a fraction of the more than 1,000 killed by the heat dome that struck the Pacific Northwest (including western Canada) last summer, where lower temperatures hit millions for a much shorter period of time. (In Seattle, it was above 100 for only three days, with a peak of 108; in Portland, it reached 116.) It’s an even smaller fraction of the number who died in the 2003 and 2010 heat waves in Europe and Russia, which killed 70,000 and 55,000, respectively. In those heat waves, only a handful of places crossed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Dr. Chandni Singh, a senior researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and a lead author of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chapter on adaptation, it’s likely that this year’s heat event in India will not even be as lethal as one there in 2015 when high temperatures across the country killed several thousand.

When I spoke to the Indian climate activist Disha Ravi, she described recent floods — which have killed more than 100 across India and Bangladesh, and displaced many millions — as a more pressing climate matter locally and the one that had been preoccupying her much more, recently, than the heat.

What explains the relatively low death toll in India and Pakistan from the recent heat? It is still early to say definitively. That goes double given the limited data about all the impacts of the heat wave — not just on human health, but also on agriculture, labor and economic activity, and more.

But the question is a hugely consequential one: About a fifth of the human population was just subjected to almost unimaginably long-lasting extreme heat, and the ultimate toll, if we can accurately assess it, will tell us quite a lot about how some of us might suffer through the future climate.
Riaz Haq said…
Alhmdulillah! Hub Dam filled to max level of 339.15 ft with 6,87,000 AF water storage; sufficient to release water for Karachi & Balochistan for 3 years. Safe passage of additional water through spillways in operation being monitored by Water Resources Ministry & WAPDA & Teams.
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Pakistan's punishing inflation changes life as 225m people know it
Poor skimp on food while those better off carpool, buy solar, aim to emigrate

Like everything else, the cost of riding privately operated buses in Pakistan's urban centers has jumped. Fares have risen as much as 40% in two months due to expensive diesel. So commuters are squeezing themselves into government-subsidized bus services in the few cities where they are available. From Rawalpindi to Lahore to Peshawar, these public transport systems have been reporting tens of thousands to even hundreds of thousands more daily riders than before the fuel price increases.

Meanwhile, many motorists are rationing gas. "[Gasoline] worth 400 rupees that would last us three days now finishes in a day," said one motorcyclist. "We get just enough petrol every day to get us to work and back," said another. And since gasoline theft is on the rise, many are installing fuel locks.

Data shows that Pakistanis are certainly buying less gas and diesel than they used to. Overall sales were down 14% in June versus the previous month, according to Topline Securities, a Karachi-based equities brokerage.

Khawaja Atif Ahmed, a gas station owner and the information secretary at the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association, told Nikkei Asia that customer traffic at his station in Lahore fell 20% to 25% after the price hikes. The city's daily consumption, once more than 3 million liters, has fallen to 2.1 million to 2.2 million liters, he added.

Among middle-income Pakistanis who are loath to use run-down public transport, many are resorting to carpooling. Facebook pages that connect drivers and riders have mushroomed. Sana Adnan, a work-from-home mom in Karachi, set up a group called "Carpool Karachi" on Facebook after the government announced the second fuel price hike in a week in June. She said the rise in members and posts "has been overwhelming."

Electricity costs are also biting across all segments of society. This has had a side effect of boosting the solar power industry, though many would-be photovoltaic adopters are quickly being priced out too.

For Shoaib Saleem, managing director of Karachi-based solar panel provider Deniz Synergies, business has been booming. "Before solar panels were used by people who were environmentally concerned or were rich," he said. "Now we are getting lots of queries from businesses and the production sector, whose operational costs have doubled, as well as residences," he said.

Hoping to capitalize on the demand, dozens of companies have entered the market for solar panels. "Six years back, when we came into this business, there were only two or three [solar panel providers]," said Syed Shafi, a sales manager at Delta Power in Karachi.

Of course, solar panels are not immune to the red-hot inflation.

"Equipment is short because goods are stuck at Chinese ports due to import restrictions, which is driving up the cost of solar equipment by up to 45%," said Deniz's Saleem.

More immediate countermeasures for inflation-squeezed middle-class households include eating simpler meals and sharing bedrooms to cut air conditioning costs.

Some have had enough of compromising on living standards and are eager to emigrate.

A Karachi-based doctor in her late 30s, who requested anonymity, said her family had been considering emigration for years but stuck around, thinking economic conditions would eventually improve. Judging from the past three months, she said, "it seems we made a huge mistake."
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Pakistan floods: Disaster to cost more than $10bn, minister says
By Peter Hoskins

Pakistan's planning minister says early estimates show the devastating floods that hit the country have caused at least $10bn (£8.5bn) of damage.

His comment comes as another government minister said that one-third of the South Asian nation has been submerged.

Separately on Monday, Pakistan received a $1.1bn bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

That money is aimed to help the cash-strapped economy avoid defaulting on its debts.

The flash floods, caused by record monsoon rains, have killed at least 1,136 people and affected more than 33 million, over 15% of the country's population.

The torrential rains have also washed away roads, crops, homes, bridges and other infrastructure.

"I think it is going to be huge. So far, [a] very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10 billion," Pakistan's planning minister Ahsan Iqbal told the Reuters news agency.

Mr Iqbal said the country would face serious food shortages in the coming weeks and months and believed that the floods were worse than those that hit Pakistan in 2010, the deadliest in the country's history which left more than 2,000 people dead.

He also called on richer countries to help Pakistan financially as he said it was a victim of climate change, which had been caused by the "irresponsible development of the developed world".

To address food shortages, finance minister Miftah Ismail said Pakistan could consider importing vegetables from arch-rival India.

On Monday, the country's climate change minister Sherry Rehman described the situation as a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions."

"Literally, one-third of Pakistan is underwater right now, which has exceeded every boundary, every norm we've seen in the past," Ms Rehman told the AFP news agency.

Even before the floods Pakistan was suffering from an economic crisis and had been negotiating with the IMF over a bailout.

Official figures released in recent weeks showed that the country had only enough foreign currencies in reserve for about a month of imports as its economy struggles with an annual inflation rate of almost 25%.

In a statement on the $1.1bn bailout, IMF deputy managing director Antoinette Sayeh said: "Pakistan's economy has been buffeted by adverse external conditions, due to spillovers from the war in Ukraine, and domestic challenges, including from accommodative policies that resulted in uneven and unbalanced growth."

The floods were not mentioned in the statement.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan floods are ‘a monsoon on steroids’, warns UN chief
By Simon Fraser

Pakistan is facing "a monsoon on steroids", the UN's secretary general has warned, after floods submerged a third of the country.

Antonio Guterres urged the world to come to Pakistan's aid as he launched a $160m appeal to help the tens of millions affected in the disaster.

He blamed "the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding".

At least 1,136 people have been killed since June and roads, crops, homes and bridges washed away across the country.

This year's record monsoon is comparable to the devastating floods of 2010 - the deadliest in Pakistan's history - which left more than 2,000 people dead.

In a video message, Mr Guterres called South Asia a "climate crisis hotspot" where people were 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts.

"Let's stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today, it's Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country."

He said the UN appeal aimed to provide 5.2 million people with food, water, sanitation, emergency education and health support.

Officials estimate that more than 33 million Pakistanis - one in seven people - have been affected by the flooding.

Sadia, a student in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, said she felt helpless as her family were cut off in their home village of Jhal Magsi, about eight hours away.

"You can't find a single home that is safe now," she told the BBC's Outside Source programme. "They are under the sky with no help.

"Right now, we are in need of first aid relief like tents, some shelter and some basic food, they can't cook anything. And they need clean water to drink."

On Monday, Pakistan's climate change minister Sherry Rehman described the situation as a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions".

Pakistan produces less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but ranks consistently in the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.

Pakistan's planning minister says estimates suggest the floods have caused at least $10bn (£8.5bn) of damage, and many people face serious food shortages. The country was already suffering from an economic crisis.

Vaste swathes of rich agricultural land have been devastated in this year's monsoon, damaging food supplies and sending prices soaring.

"Things are so expensive because of this flood that we can't buy anything," Zahida Bibi, a shopper at a market in Lahore, told AFP news agency.

The flood situation is most severe in provinces such as Sindh and Balochistan, but mountainous regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been badly hit.

Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate villages cut off in northern Swat Valley, where bridges and roads have been swept away - but even with the help of helicopters, authorities are still struggling to reach those trapped.

"Village after village has been wiped out. Millions of houses have been destroyed," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday after flying over the area in a helicopter.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan floods kill more than 1,000 and threaten economic recovery | Financial Times

“It’s the climate catastrophe of the decade,” climate change and environment minister Sherry Rehman told the Financial Times in an interview. “In living memory, we have not seen such a biblical flood come to Pakistan.”


More than 1,000 people have been killed and nearly 1mn homes damaged in the worst flooding to hit Pakistan in at least a decade, as the latest in a series of climate change-induced catastrophes imperils the country’s economic recovery.

Torrential rains and flooding have swept through Pakistan in recent weeks, hitting Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three of the country’s four provinces. Sindh has received almost eight times the average amount of rainfall in August, according to government data, wiping out crops such as rice and cotton.

Officials estimated that more than 30mn people have been affected, or about 15 per cent of the population, and thousands were forced to abandon their homes.

“It’s the climate catastrophe of the decade,” climate change and environment minister Sherry Rehman told the Financial Times in an interview. “In living memory, we have not seen such a biblical flood come to Pakistan.”

South Asia has been beset by extreme weather events in recent months, with heatwaves succeeded by torrential rains that have killed thousands of people across India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The floods have added to Pakistan’s financial distress. The IMF’s board on Monday is expected to approve a $1.2bn disbursement to shore up the country’s dwindling foreign currency reserves, which have fallen to about five weeks’ worth of cover for imports.

Inflation has soared, with an indicator of “sensitive” items such as food and other essentials last week rising to 45 per cent year on year.

Rehman predicted that authorities may be forced to divert development grants and potentially budget funding to manage the fallout.

“We’ll have trouble with our import bills and foreign exchange reserves will be impacted because we’ll be importing food now, in a much larger [way],” she said. “Once our trade balance is impacted, the rupee will be further weakened. We’re facing a very tough time ahead.”

The government is preparing a UN appeal for humanitarian aid to support affected areas and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met foreign diplomats on Friday to push for more international aid. “The ongoing rain spell has caused devastation across the country,” he said.

Investors had feared that Pakistan could follow Sri Lanka in defaulting, though the prospect of upcoming assistance from the IMF — part of a $7bn package launched in 2019 — has largely eased those concerns. China recently lent more than $2bn to Islamabad, while Saudi Arabia has agreed to renew a $3bn deposit at Pakistan’s central bank. Pakistani authorities anticipate more aid from countries including Qatar.

The flooding has piled further pressure on Sharif’s government as it faces a sustained political challenge from former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted this year in a no-confidence vote. Khan popularity has surged since, as he has pressed for elections, but is on bail after being charged last week with terrorism offences over a controversial speech.

But Rehman argued that no country could handle such extreme flooding. “If Islamabad were to get 700 per cent extra rain, Islamabad would pack up — as would New York,” she said. “It’s sexy to say it’s a development failure . . . But I’m not sure that’s all there is to the story. It’s just too much water.”
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's deadly floods have created a massive 100km-wide inland lake, satellite images show

Striking new satellite images that reveal the extent of Pakistan's record flooding show how an overflowing Indus River has turned part of Sindh Province into a 100 kilometer-wide inland lake.

Swaths of the country are now underwater, after what United Nation officials have described as a "monsoon on steroids" brought the heaviest rainfall in living memory and flooding that has killed 1,162 people, injured 3,554 and affected 33 million since mid-June.
The new images, taken on August 28 from NASA's MODIS satellite sensor, show how a combination of heavy rain and an overflowing Indus River have inundated much of Sindh province in the South.

Move the slider to the left to reveal the flood waters (shown in blue) cover large portions of Pakistan's normally arid, brown landscape in this satellite image captured on Sunday, August 28th. Move the slider back to the right to the same date last year. These images are known as 'false-color,' which combine infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land.
In the center of the picture, a large area of dark blue shows the Indus overflowing and flooding an area around 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide, turning what were once agricultural fields into a giant inland lake.

It's a shocking transformation from the photo taken by the same satellite on the same date last year, which shows the river and its tributaries contained in what appear by comparison to be small, narrow bands, highlighting the extent of the damage in one of the country's hardest-hit areas.
This year's monsoon is already the country's wettest since records began in 1961, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, and the season still has one month to go.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Could Have Averted Its Climate Catastrophe
Analysis by David Fickling | Bloomberg

If you’re looking for an emblem of why Pakistan will struggle to recover from the floods that have killed more than 1,000 since June, consider its latest bailout from the International Monetary Fund agreed Monday.

The infusion of $1.16 billion might help unlock enough cash to get the country through the next couple of years — but the floods themselves have caused more than $10 billion of damage, much of which will end up boosting the country’s $255 billion in debt.

For as long as we’ve raised crops from the rich soils laid down in river valleys, floods have challenged humanity. That’s one reason that deluge myths are almost universal. The solutions haven’t changed much, either. An implausibly massive piece of capital investment saves humanity in Genesis and the Quran, in the form of Noah’s ark.

Modern governments take the same approach. The 1928 Flood Control Act, introduced to tame the Mississippi after the previous year’s devastating inundation, was at the time the largest public works project the US government had ever authorized, costing more than the Panama Canal. Flood management forms one of the biggest parts of China’s budget, with the 1 trillion yuan ($144 billion) invested in these projects in 2017 (the last time data was published), amounting to a larger sum than was spent on health care or railway construction.

As the largest irrigation system in the world, the Indus valley is another monument to massive investment whose roots date back more than 4,000 years. Like Pakistan whose backbone it forms, however, the Indus and its tributaries have been starved of the investment they need to effectively manage the risks of natural disaster.

Some of the most important lines of defense against floods are colonial-era projects such as the vast Sukkur Barrage — a system of dams and canals that divert the waters of the Indus’s to irrigate the arid southern Sindh Province. Many are in a poor state of repair, thanks to years of underinvestment in maintenance; corruption; and disputes between Pakistan’s four provinces about the allocation of water and funds.

The Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs on either side of Islamabad have become so choked with silt sweeping down from the Himalayas that they’re losing their ability to swallow up floodwaters and prevent inundation further downstream. Just 57% of Tarbela’s storage capacity is now available, and increased silting may clog it altogether, a government committee was told earlier this month.

The underinvestment that has led to this state of affairs is chronic. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan — a sign of a country that’s unable to build the infrastructure it needs to support a growing population. With the costs of climate impacts rising, more and more money is going to be spent not on the long-term investments needed to protect the country against future natural disasters, but simply on the clean up and compensating for the loss of productivity following catastrophes.

A changing climate will make the problems Pakistan is experiencing now even worse. Warmer air is able to hold more moisture, making extreme monsoon rainfall a more frequent occurrence. It also causes mountain ice to melt faster — a significant issue in Pakistan, home to more glaciers than any country outside the polar regions. Flash flooding from the overflow of glacial lakes can be devastating, particularly in mountainous regions of the country close to the Afghan, Indian and Chinese borders.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Could Have Averted Its Climate Catastrophe
Analysis by David Fickling | Bloomberg

The global pool of financing available to deal with climate change isn’t up to the challenge, and more than three-quarters of the total is still going to mitigation — investment in transitional technologies to prevent future emissions. That spending is important, but unlikely to be as useful to a nation like Pakistan, whose emissions are minimal. Its far greater need is for funds to adapt to the changes that are already happening.

Sufficient expenditure could solve many of these problems at a stroke — but Pakistan is struggling to run up a descending escalator, with energy import dependence, weak agricultural productivity, and lack of external investment contributing to a vicious cycle of underdevelopment. Even when cash has been made available for nation-building infrastructure (the country was one of the biggest recipients of Chinese funding for Belt and Road projects, much of it spent on hydropower and water management), Pakistan’s exposure to economic shocks has left it ill-placed to pay its way.

Rich countries are reluctant enough to invest in Pakistan’s energy transition, which at least offers the prospect of returns, however meager and uncertain. They’re still less likely to donate the grant funds necessary to insulate one of the world’s poorest countries against the impact of rising global temperatures. Cash can’t prevent a flood, but it can prevent natural disasters capsizing an economy. Pakistan badly needs that support.
Riaz Haq said…
Devastating Floods in Pakistan (NASA Earth Observatory)

Since mid-June 2022, Pakistan has been drenched by extreme monsoon rains that have led to the country’s worst flooding in a decade. According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have affected more than 33 million people and destroyed or damaged more than 1 million houses. At least 1,100 people were killed by floodwaters that inundated tens of thousands of square kilometers of the country.

The false-color images above were acquired by the Operational Land Imagers aboard the Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites on August 4 and 28, respectively. The images combine shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red light (bands 6-5-4) to better distinguish flood waters (deep blue) beyond their natural channels.

The worst flooding occurred along the Indus River in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh. The provinces of Balochistan and Sindh have so far this year received five to six times their 30-year average rainfall. Most of that arrived in summer monsoon rains.

Across the country, about 150 bridges and 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of roads have been destroyed, according to ReliefWeb. More than 700,000 livestock and 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been lost.

The image above, acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on August 31, 2022, shows the extent of flooding in the region. The image uses a combination of near-infrared and visible light to make it easier to see where rivers are out of their banks and spread across floodplains.

The immense volume of rain- and meltwater inundated the dams, reservoirs, canals, and channels of the country’s large and highly developed irrigation system. On August 31, the Indus River System Authority authorized some releases from dams because the water flowing in threatened to exceed the capacity of several reservoirs.

In the southern reaches of the Indus watershed, the deluge has turned plains into seas. These detailed images show the districts of Qambar and Shikarpur in Sindh province, which from July 1 to August 31 received 500 percent more rainfall than average.

The effect of the monsoon rains has been compounded by the continued melting of Pakistan’s 7,000 glaciers. The country holds the most glacial ice found outside the polar regions. Climate warming and recent heat waves have precipitated several glacial-outburst floods. In the rugged northern part of the country, the combined rain and meltwater has turned slopes into hill torrents.

On August 30, the Pakistani government declared a national emergency and, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for international aid for humanitarian relief efforts.

Pakistan last faced such dramatic and widespread flooding in 2010.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). Story by Sara E. Pratt.

Riaz Haq said…
Why are Pakistan’s floods so bad this year?
Climate change is making South Asia’s monsoons increasingly erratic

Even before this summer’s rains began, Pakistanis living along the country’s rivers were witness to the immense power of climate change. Meltwater from the Himalayas had swollen them by May, a month before the highest temperatures of the year were expected. Summers are getting hotter across the Indian subcontinent and, in turn, the monsoon rains that break the heat are becoming increasingly unpredictable: early or late, deficient or superabundant. This year’s devastating cloudbursts are a terrible case in point (see chart).

By the end of August Pakistan had received three times its annual average rainfall. The swollen Indus river and its many tributaries have therefore burst their banks, washing away buildings and destroying harvests and the livelihoods of millions in a country where 65% of the population is sustained directly by agriculture. A third of the country is estimated to have been submerged. And the country’s government, distracted by protracted political and economic crises, has proved to be woefully unprepared for this inundation. Over 1,100 people have perished in the floods, including hundreds of children. The government estimates that the disaster has so far caused over $10bn-worth of damage. And worse will follow as the rains keep falling and food shortages and flood-related epidemics set in.

Much of the northern hemisphere has been struggling with drought this summer. America, China and most of Europe are therefore seeing crop failures, dwindling waterways and electricity shortages (in part due to diminished availability of hydro-power and high demand for air-conditioning). Most of South Asia (including Pakistan) is meanwhile receiving unusually heavy rainfall.

In the long-term, South Asia should expect more extreme rainfall as a result of climate change. In a study published in 2021, a German research team estimated that for every degree Celsius of global warming the Indian subcontinent can expect an additional 5.3% of precipitation during the monsoon. This is because, as the atmosphere’s temperature rises, so does its capacity to bear moisture.

This year’s devastation is spread unevenly across Pakistan’s varied geography. Two relatively arid southern provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, received 336% and 446% more rain than they would during a normal July. Downriver from the glacial melt, they were especially unprepared to absorb it. Himalayan regions, such as Pakistan-administered Kashmir, have meanwhile had average or reduced rainfall.

In an appeal for foreign aid this week, Pakistan’s finance minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, noted how inequitably the costs of climate change are being experienced around the world. Pakistan emits less than 1% of the greenhouse-gas emissions responsible for global warming, Yet, he said, Pakistanis are “paying the price in their lives”.
Riaz Haq said…
How to help #Flood Victims in #Pakistan? Donate generously to Islamic Relief, Edhi Foundation, UNICEF, Alkhidmat, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Save the Children and other #NGOs working on the ground. #FloodsInPakistan

Extreme flooding has decimated communities in Pakistan and killed more than 1,000 people, many of them children. Millions more have been displaced, their homes destroyed. Crops have been ravaged, heightening concerns of malnutrition.

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As the crisis continues to unfold, officials have called on the international community for aid, estimating it may cost billions of dollars to recover from the damage.

Here are some organizations you can donate to:

Islamic Relief
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Islamic Relief has been operating in Pakistan since 1992. The organization is focused on providing food aid, access to clean water and other humanitarian supplies. Donate here.

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The United Nations Children’s Fund is working to provide health services, water and hygiene kits to affected families. The agency is also setting up temporary education centers. Donate here.

International Medical Corps
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The International Medical Corps has been operating in the country since 1985. The organization is focused on providing medical care and supplies, mental health support, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services. Donate here.

Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan
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This nonprofit launched an Emergency Flood Appeal calling for donations. The organization has been providing food and shelter to those affected since July. Donate here.

International Rescue Committee
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The IRC has operated in Pakistan since 1980. The organization has “reached almost 20,000 people with critical food, supplies and medical support,” Shabnam Baloch, IRC’s Pakistan director, said in a statement. “We are urgently requesting donors to step up their support and help us save lives.” Donate here.

Mercy Corps
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Mercy Corps is working in the hard-hit province of Baluchistan, providing food, water and funds to those affected. Donate here.

Save the Children
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Save the Children has been working in Pakistan since 1979. The organization is providing shelter, schooling, food and cookware to affected areas. Donate here.
Riaz Haq said…
Michael Kugelman
Some of the countries that have pledged (and in some cases already delivered) flood relief aid to Pakistan:


Also reports that some G20 countries will provide debt relief.
Riaz Haq said…
#US will provide $30 million for relief effort in #PakistanFloods2022 which 'affected an estimated 33 million people," destroyed or damaged one million homes, and has led to the loss of "nearly 735,000 livestock -- a major source of livelihoods and food."

According to the agency, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, will "lead the US government's response efforts in Pakistan," where at least 1,100 have been killed and at least 4,800 have been injured in floods across the country since June 14.

A USAID spokesperson told CNN Friday that there are currently "four members of the DART on the ground in Pakistan working to assess the situation and determine how the United States can work with the Government of Pakistan to provide additional resources."
More members of the team are on their way, and "the DART will remain active on the ground until USAID can determine that needs have been met," the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, The Department of Defense "is sending an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support DoD can provide to USAID as part of the United States' assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan." They said the aid "remains in close coordination with DoD to determine any necessary support for our response."
"In addition to mobilizing the DART, U.S. government staff based in the region and Washington, D.C., are monitoring the situation closely, including any potential impacts the flooding may have in the broader region," the agency said in a press release Friday.
Earlier this week, USAID announced that the US will provide $30 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the flooding, which it said "has affected an estimated 33 million people," destroyed or damaged one million homes, and has led to the loss of "nearly 735,000 livestock -- a major source of livelihoods and food."
"With these funds, USAID partners will prioritize urgently needed support for food, nutrition, multi-purpose cash, safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and shelter assistance," the press release from the agency said.
Riaz Haq said…
What Is Owed to Pakistan, Now One-Third Underwater by Fatima Bhutto

One in seven Pakistanis have been affected, with many sleeping under open skies, without shelter. About 900,000 livestock have been lost, and more than two million acres of farmland and 90 percent of crops have been damaged. In some provinces, cotton and rice crops, date trees and sugar cane have been nearly obliterated, and half of the onion, chili and tomato crops, all staple foods, are gone. Over 1,350 people are dead, and some 33 million people (50 million according to unofficial tallies) have been displaced.


The worst hit province of Sindh, in the south, suffers in extremis. Sindh does not appear to have any disaster preparedness, or any plans in place to reinforce water infrastructure or the barely functioning sewage system.

The survivors, the majority of whom are poor, must now avoid hunger and disease lurking in the rising, fetid flood water. More rain is predicted. Much of Sindh is close to sea level, which means that the floodwaters from the north will continue rushing downstream.

Ahsan Iqbal, the minister of planning and development, has called Pakistan a victim of climate change caused by the “irresponsible development of the developed world.” Pakistan is about 2.6 percent of the world’s population and contributes less than 1 percent of global carbon emissions, and yet it has paid a monumental price. As a point of context, the United States is only about 4 percent of the world’s population, and yet is responsible for about 13 percent of global carbon emissions.

In 2019, Philip Alston, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights at the time, warned that global heating would undermine basic rights to water, food and housing. We faced a future, Mr. Alston said, where the wealthy will pay to avoid these deprivations while the rest of the world suffers.

The Global North can help the poor of the Global South by taking responsibility for the losses and damages of extreme weather fueled in part by the burning of fossil fuels. The impacts of decades of fossil fuel burning are already too severe, and apply too unevenly to the poor, for the Global North to deny culpability.

In 2010, a year that we were also deluged, Pakistan’s Meteorological Department recorded nationwide rains 70 to 102 percent above normal levels. Locally, the numbers were more terrifying — in Khanpur, a city in Punjab, it was 1,483 percent above normal. The rivers swelled and the Indus and its tributaries soon burst their banks. A dam failure created floodwater lakes. USAID estimated that 1.7 million homes were damaged and more than 20 million people were affected. The economic losses were around $11 billion, and a fifth of the country had been affected.

Today’s superflood may well prove to be worse — at one point in Sindh Province, rainfall was 508 percent above average.

The International Monetary Fund has released $1.17 billion in funds to Pakistan that had previously been allocated for a government bailout in 2019. The secretary general of the U.N. has also asked member states to give $160 million. But I.M.F. money comes with painful strings attached for countries like Pakistan, and it will not be enough to rebuild, nor to prevent future disasters. This is climate change. It is relentless and furious, and this is not the worst we have seen of it.

The lack of attention on Pakistan is heartbreaking: Too few major international cultural figures are speaking up for us in this moment of crisis. It is either a snide form of racism — that terrible things happen to places like Pakistan — or else an utter failure of compassion. But Pakistan has long been a cipher, a warning for the world, just like those old stories. And so the wealthy world would do well to pay attention. The horrors that Pakistan is struggling with today could soon come for everyone.
Riaz Haq said…
The devastating floods in Pakistan are a "wake-up call" to the world on the threats of climate change, experts have said.

The record-breaking rain would devastate any country, not just poorer nations, one climate scientist has told BBC News.

The human impacts are clear - another 2,000 people were rescued from floodwaters on Friday, while ministers warn of food shortages after almost half the country's crops were washed away.

A sense of injustice is keenly felt in the country. Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse gases that warm our planet but its geography makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change.

"Literally, one-third of Pakistan is underwater right now, which has exceeded every boundary, every norm we've seen in the past," Climate minister Sherry Rehman said this week.

Pakistan is located at a place on the globe which bears the brunt of two major weather systems. One can cause high temperatures and drought, like the heatwave in March, and the other brings monsoon rains.

The majority of Pakistan's population live along the Indus river, which swells and can flood during monsoon rains.

The science linking climate change and more intense monsoons is quite simple. Global warming is making air and sea temperatures rise, leading to more evaporation. Warmer air can hold more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense.

Scientists predict that the average rainfall in the Indian summer monsoon season will increase due to climate change, explains Anja Katzenberger at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

But Pakistan has something else making it susceptible to climate change effects - its immense glaciers.

The northern region is sometimes referred to as the 'third pole' - it contains more glacial ice than anywhere in the world outside of the polar regions.

As the world warms, glacial ice is melting. Glaciers in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions are melting rapidly, creating more than 3,000 lakes, the the UN Development Programme told BBC News. Around 33 of these are at risk of sudden bursting, which could unleash millions of cubic meters of water and debris, putting 7 million people at risk.

Pakistan's government and the UN are attempting to reduce the risks of these sudden outburst floods by installing early-warning systems and protective infrastructure.

In the past poorer countries with weaker flood defences or lower-quality housing have been less able to cope with extreme rainfall.

But climate impact scientist Fahad Saeed told BBC News that even a rich nation would be overwhelmed by the catastrophic flooding this summer.

"This is a different type of animal - the scale of the floods is so high and the rain is so extreme, that even very robust defences would struggle," Dr Saeed explains from Islamabad, Pakistan.

He points to the flooding in Germany and Belgium that killed dozens of people in 2021.

Pakistan received nearly 190% more rain than its 30-year average from June to August - reaching a total of 390.7mm.

He says that Pakistan's meteorological service did a "reasonable" job in warning people in advance about flooding. And the country does have some flood defences but they could be improved, he says.

People with the smallest carbon footprints are suffering the most, Dr Saeed says.

"The victims are living in mud homes with hardly any resources - they have contributed virtually nothing to climate change," he says.

The flooding has affected areas that don't normally see this type of rain, including southern regions Sindh and Balochistan that are normally arid or semi-arid.
Riaz Haq said…
‘Very Dire’: Devastated by Floods, Pakistan Faces Looming Food Crisis
The flooding has crippled Pakistan’s agricultural sector, battering the country as it reels from an economic crisis and double-digit inflation that has sent the price of basics soaring.

Violent swells have swept away roads, homes, schools and hospitals across much of Pakistan. Millions of people have been driven from their homes, struggling through waist-deep, fetid water to reach islands of safety. Nearly all of the country’s crops along with thousands of livestock and stores of wheat and fertilizer have been damaged — prompting warnings of a looming food crisis.

Since a deluge of monsoon rains lashed Pakistan last week, piling more water on top of more than two months of record flooding that has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of millions, the Pakistani government and international relief organizations have scrambled to save people and vital infrastructure in what officials have called a climate disaster of epic proportions.

Floodwater now covers around a third of the country, including its agricultural belt, with more rain predicted in the coming weeks. The damage from the flood will likely be “far greater” than initial estimates of around $10 billion, according to the country’s planning minister, Ahsan Iqbal.

The flooding has crippled a country that was already reeling from an economic crisis and double digit-inflation that has sent the price of basic goods soaring. Now the flooding threatens to set Pakistan back years or even decades, officials warned, and to fan the flames of political tensions that have engulfed the country since former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted last spring.

The damage to the country’s agricultural sector could also be felt across the globe, experts warn. Pakistan is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of cotton and rice — crops that have been devastated by the flood. As much as half of the country’s cotton crop has been destroyed, officials said, a blow to global cotton production in a year when cotton prices have soared as other major producers from the United States to China have been hit with extreme weather.

The floodwaters also threaten to derail Pakistan’s wheat planting season this fall, raising the possibility of continued food shortfalls and price spikes through next year. It is an alarming prospect in a country that depends on its wheat production to feed itself at a time when global wheat supplies are precarious.

“We’re in a very dire situation,” said Rathi Palakrishnan, deputy country director of the World Food Program in Pakistan. “There’s no buffer stocks of wheat, there’s no seeds because farmers have lost them.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government, along with the United Nations, has appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to reach 5.2 million of the country’s most vulnerable people.

The scale of the devastation in Pakistan stands out even in a year punctuated by extreme weather, including heat waves across Europe and the United States, intense rain that has drenched parts of Asia and the worst drought to hit East Africa in decades.

Since the start of the monsoon season in Pakistan this summer, more than 1,300 people have died in floods — nearly half of whom are children — and more than 6,000 have been injured, according to the United Nations. Around 33 million people have been displaced. Floodwater now covers around 100,000 square miles — an area larger than the size of Britain — with more floods expected in the coming weeks.

Sindh Province, which produces around a third of the country’s food supply, has been among the hardest hit by the rains. The province received nearly six times its 30-year average rainfall this monsoon season, which has damaged around 50 percent of the province’s crops, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
Riaz Haq said…

Submerged Cities (Mehar, Qambar, Larkana, Sukkur, Khairpur Nathanshah, Sehwan,
Satellite images show unprecedented floods have left parts of Pakistan underwater.

Floods from record monsoon rains in Pakistan and glacial melt in the country’s mountainous north have affected 33 million people and killed over 1,500, washing away homes, roads, railways, bridges, livestock and crops in damage estimated at $30 billion.

Both the government and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have blamed climate change for the extreme weather that led to the flooding and submerged huge areas of the nation of 220 million.

Large swathes of the country are inundated, and hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes while some villages have become islands.

Images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite, analysed by Reuters, show the extent of flooding around towns and cities in Sindh province, one of the country’s worst affected areas.

There are at least three points in Dadu district in the province of Sindh where the Indus Highway is submerged, with traffic suspended for weeks, while Pakistan's other highway connecting the north and south has also been badly hit by the flood waters.

The cities of Qambar and Larkana sit around 25 km apart and are just west of the Indus River. Both have been heavily impacted by flood water.

Images show farm fields that resemble massive lakes of several miles in diameter and landscapes which are usually a spectrum of brown, yellow and green, now submerged by water.

Reuters’ drone footage over Sindh showed agricultural and residential areas completely submerged in water, with just the tops of trees and buildings visible.

Urban centres like Larkana and Sukkur, while not completely unscathed, faced comparatively lesser damage from the flooding. The airport remains operational and is receiving flights that are carrying relief supplies that have been arriving from China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates carrying tents, food and medicine. People from nearby villages are also queuing up to get treated at hospitals in the city.

U.N. agencies have begun work to assess the South Asian nation's reconstruction needs after it received 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain, or nearly 190% more than the 30-year average, in July and August. Sindh received 466% more rain than average.

The map below shows the extent of flooding through the province. Many of the towns and villages have been submerged or surrounded by flood waters.

Over the last few weeks, authorities have thrown up barriers to keep the flood waters out of key structures such as power stations as well as homes, while farmers who stayed to try and save their cattle faced a new threat as fodder began to run out.

Data from Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, shows how rapidly the disaster unfolded as more people died towards the end of August and the numbers continue to pile up. In Sindh, the country’s hardest hit region, accounts for little over 40 percent of the deaths.

As of Sept 18 the floods have partially or permanently damaged over 1.9 million houses, destroyed 12,718 km (7,902 miles) of roads, nearly a million livestock, and swamped millions of acres of farmland since the start of the monsoon.

Data shows how damage and destruction escalated during August when rains were heaviest. More than half a million homes have been completely destroyed. The majority of the damaged infrastructure is in Sindh.

The city of Khairpur Nathan Shah in Sindh, which is about 25 km (15.5 miles) west of the Indus River is completely surrounded by flood water. The roofs of the homes resemble an archipelago in place of a city.

The crisis is far from over as rescue operations have been unable to get to all the affected areas. Of the 33 million people affected, about half a million have been moved to camps with about 180,000 rescued. More than half of the country’s 160 districts continue to be affected by the floods.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan may become unbearably hot by end of the century

New UNDP report on COP27 eve predicts number of ‘extremely hot days’ could rise to 179 by year 2099

Meteorologists note spring has nearly vanished, extreme heatwaves becoming all too common

Even as the government prepares to make a case for climate justice at the UN climate conference (COP27) that starts today (Sunday), an alarming new United Nations report predicts that Pakistan’s average annual temperature will increase to 22.4 degrees Celsius within the next decade and a half, and would cross the 26oC threshold by the end of the century.

The fresh report also warns that on average, the number of hot days in a year — i.e. when the temperature remains above 35 Celsius — will be 124 by the end of 2030, and this number will rise to 179 by the year 2099.

At 35 Celsius, the human body struggles to cool down through perspiration alone — hence raising the risk of death from overheating.

The Human Climate Horizons platform, a collaboration between the United Nations Development Progra­mme (UNDP) and the Climate Impact Lab, provides insights into the direction and magnitude of changes in the climate, like the number of extremely hot days each year and the impact of those changes on human welfare.

According to a UNDP press release, the new data shows the need to act qui­ckly, not only to mitigate climate cha­nge but also to adapt to its consequences.

“For instance, in Faisalabad, Pakistan, even with moderate mitigation, additional deaths due to climate change would average 36 per 100,000 people each year between 2020-2039. Without substantially expanding adaptation efforts, Faisalabad could expect annual climate change-related death rates to nearly double, reaching 67 deaths per 100,000 by midcentury. An increment almost as deadly as strokes, currently Pakistan’s third leading cause of death,” the statement says.

The latest warnings corroborate findings and concerns that have been raised by local experts over the past several years, who have long been insisting that climate change is no longer an approaching challenge, rather it is “happening right now”.

“In the very recent past, the Pakistan Meteorological Depart­ment (PMD) conducted a thorough research for an international organization, which should also have set alarms bell ringing,” says Nadeem Faisal, former director of the Climate Data Processing Centre — a key unit within the PMD.

He referred to the findings of a previous study, which suggested that Pakistan has warmed considerably since the early 1960s, with more warming witnessed in daytime maximum temperatures than night-time minimum temperatures.

“An analysis of the data revealed that the annual mean temperature has risen for the country as a whole by 0.74°C over the last 58 years by 2019, which is quite alarming,” he said. “The recent changes in weather conditions very much manifest the authenticity of this finding.”

The change in the mean temperature has been accompanied by a large increase in extreme temperatures. Since 2011, the number of extreme heat records being set in Pakistan has increased significantly. The frequency of very warm months (May–August) has also increased manifold over the recent decade.

While high-temperature extremes have increased significantly, low-temperature extremes are less frequent, the report says. The observation supplements a warning in latest UN reports, which predict that Hyderabad in Sindh is likely to become the hottest city in the world by the year 2100, with its highest average temperature reaching 29.9°C to 32°C. It is expected to outrank Jacobabad, Bahawal­nagar and Bahawalpur by that time.

Riaz Haq said…
India, Pakistan at risk of flooding from glacial lakes: What new study says

India and Pakistan make up one-third of the total number of people globally exposed to glacial lake outburst floods or GLOFs — around three million people in India and around two million in Pakistan

Around 15 million people across the world face the risk of sudden and deadly flooding from glacial lakes, which are expanding and rising in numbers due to global warming, according to a new study. More than half of those who could be impacted live in four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

Published in the journal Nature, the study, ‘Glacial lake outburst floods threaten millions globally’ has been conducted by Caroline Taylor, Rachel Carr and Stuart Dunning of Newcastle University (UK), Tom Robinson of the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), and Matthew Westoby of Northumbria University (UK).

Glacial lakes result from a shrinking glacier. Once the water is released from them, it could cause flooding in the downstream areas. This is known as glacial lake outburst floods or GLOF. Although GLOFs have been taking place since the ice age, the risk has increased multifold due to climate change, researchers of the latest study said.

GLOFs can prove to be catastrophic as they mostly arrive with little warning and result in large-scale destruction of property, infrastructure, and agricultural land. They can also lead to the death of hundreds of people.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Tom Robinson, the co-author of the paper, said, “As the climate continues to warm, glacier retreat will form larger and more numerous lakes. At the same time, lakes are likely to become more exposed to GLOF ‘triggers’, such as a large landslide or ice avalanche entering the lake, displacing water, and causing the natural dam that impounds the lake to fail.”

“So, lakes that perhaps aren’t a concern at present may become a concern in the future, and entirely new and potentially dangerous lakes may form.”

According to a 2020 study, the number and total area of glacial lakes worldwide have increased by about 50 per cent since 1990, The Washington Post reported.

In order to identify the areas and communities that are most in danger from GLOFs, the researchers used existing satellite-derived data on different locations and sizes of glacial lakes with a global population model and a series of population metrics.

“We’ve made a conservative estimate that anyone living within 50 km of a glacial lake and one km of a river that originates from a glacial lake could be impacted, either directly or indirectly, if one or more of the lakes upstream failed,” Robinson told The Indian Express.

Moreover, the researchers also looked at levels of human development and corruption in these zones to determine how vulnerable local communities may be when floods occur.

As mentioned before, the paper estimates that 15 million people live within the 50 km danger zone of glacial lakes. It adds that populations in High Mountains Asia (HMA) — a region stretching from the Hindu Kush all the way to the eastern Himalayas — are the most exposed and on average live closest to glacial lakes with around one million people living within 10 km of a glacial lake.

“India and Pakistan make up one-third of the total number of people globally exposed to GLOFs — around three million people in India and around two million people in Pakistan,” Robinson said.

Another interesting finding of the study is that the glacial flood risks don’t only depend on the size and number of glacial lakes in an area. What also matters is the number of people living in the area, their proximity to the danger zone as well as the levels of social vulnerability.

Riaz Haq said…
India, Pakistan at risk of flooding from glacial lakes: What new study says

For instance, areas like Greenland and Canada, which have a large number of glacial lakes, have very few people who are vulnerable to GLOFs as their population and corruption levels are low.

“While the number and size of glacial lakes in these areas (India and Pakistan) isn’t as large as in places like the Pacific Northwest or Tibet, it’s that extremely large population and the fact that they are highly vulnerable that means Pakistan and India have some of the highest GLOF danger globally. In fact, the most dangerous catchment in the world in our study is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan,” Robinson explained.

However, the most surprising bit for the scientists was to find Peru ranking third globally in danger levels. They point out that in the past two decades, due to climate change, glacial lakes across the Andes have increased by 93 per cent, in comparison to 37 per cent in high-mountain Asia. Yet most of the previous studies done in the field have focused on the Himalayas rather than the Andes, the latest paper said.

Glacial lakes are large bodies of water that sit in front of, on top of, or beneath a melting glacier. As they grow larger in size, they become more dangerous because glacial lakes are mostly dammed by unstable ice or sediment composed of loose rock and debris. In case the boundary around them breaks, huge amounts of water rush down the side of the mountains, which could cause flooding in the downstream areas. This is called glacial lake outburst floods or GLOF.

Robinson said that GLOF can be triggered by several reasons, including earthquakes and ice avalanches.

“These lakes are also often found in steep, mountainous regions, which means landslides or ice avalanches can sometimes fall directly into the lakes and displace the water, causing it to over-top the natural dam and flood downstream,” he added.

In 2013, one such event took place in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath when the region witnessed flash floods along with a GLOF caused by the Chorabari Tal glacial lake, killing thousands of people.

How can GLOFs be prevented?

According to Robinson, reducing the risk of GLOFs is complex and no single solution would work.

“Limiting climate change and keeping warming under 1.5 degree Celsius is a big one as this will help slow the growth of glacial lakes, but unfortunately a certain amount of ice loss is already ‘locked in’ – if we stopped all emissions today GLOF hazard will continue to increase for several decades,” he added.

Robinson further explained that there is a need to find effective measures by working with national and regional governments, as well as communities themselves. This includes working at the local level and finding appropriate measures for the threatened populations.
Riaz Haq said…

Project Summary:
Due to rising temperatures, glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountain ranges (the Hindu Kush, Himalayas and Karakorum) are melting rapidly and a total of 3,044 glacial lakes have developed in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Of these, 33 glacial lakes have been assessed to be prone to hazardous glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF). GLOF are sudden events which can release millions of cubic metres of water and debris, leading to the loss of lives, property and livelihoods amongst remote and impoverished mountain communities. Over 7.1 million people in GB and KP are vulnerable; in these areas, 26.7 percent and 22 percent of the population, respectively, are below the poverty line.

The Scaling-up of GLOF risk reduction in Northern Pakistan (GLOF-II) project is a continuation of the four-year ‘Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities from GLOF in Northern Pakistan’ (GLOF-I) project. GLOF-I helped vulnerable communities prepare for and mitigate GLOF risks through early warning systems, enhanced infrastructure and community-based disaster risk management.

GLOF-II builds on the measures piloted by GLOF-I and aims to empower communities to identify and manage risks associated with GLOFs and related impacts of climate change, strengthen public services to lower the risk of disasters related to GLOF, and improve community preparedness and disaster response. The project will also support the development of sustainable options for livelihoods in project areas, with a particular focus on the participation of women in ensuring food security and livelihoods.

Expected results:
GLOF-II will scale up GLOF-I from its original two districts (one each in KP and GB) to cover 10 districts, benefiting 29 million people or 15 percent of the population of Pakistan. Expected results by the end of the project are:

At least two policies reviewed and/or revised to address or incorporate GLOF risk reduction.
In target communities, 95 percent of households able to receive and respond to early warnings and take the appropriate action.
At least 250 small-scale engineering structures established to reduce the effects of GLOF events on livelihoods, such as tree plantation, controlled drainage andmini dams.
Fifty weather monitoring stations to collect meteorological data in catchment areas; 408 river discharge sensors to collect river flood data. This data will inform hydrological modelling and help develop village hazard watch groups.
To improve food security and reduce flood risks due to deforestation and inefficient water use, 65,000 women will be trained in home gardening, 240 water-efficient farming technologies will be installed and 35,000 hectares of land will be reforested
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Climate Minister Sherry Rahman on #TIME100 list for this year. Also on the list: #US President Joe #Biden, #Brazil President Lula, #Japan's PM Kishida, #German Chancellor Scholz, US Treasury Sec Yellen and Supermodel Bella Hadid

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