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Devastating Floods in Pakistan Spark Climate Change Fears

Pakistan flood relief

Staff writer Diya Nadeem reports on the devastating floods in Pakistan, their link to climate change, and relevance in the UK:

Devastating floods in Pakistan have left one third of the country under water, affecting thousands of civilians. The water damage has left over 700,000 individuals left without a home and almost half of the country’s crops damaged, resulting in food shortages. Overall, the flooding has affected more than 33 million people and killed at least 1,100. The country has urged for immediate aid from the international community.

Pakistan Climate minister, Sherry Rehman, has stated that the flooding has “exceeded every boundary, every norm we’ve seen in the past.” Pakistan only accounts for 1% of global greenhouse gases, yet are currently facing the greatest consequences of global warming. Pakistan has been a victim to a number of natural disasters, such as the earthquake in 2005 – killing 90,000 and leaving 4 million homeless.

Pakistan is home to more glacial ice than anywhere else in the world, other than the polar regions, with over 7000 glaciers. As a result of global warming and rising temperatures, these glaciers melt and result in flash flooding.

The government of Pakistan blames the West for their “irresponsible development” leading to increased pollution and greenhouse emissions. Pakistan produced 217 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2020, whilst the United Kingdom produced over double that in the same year – 405.5 million metric tons.

As a developing country, Pakistan finds it harder to respond to national emergencies, due to lack of resources, than global superpowers such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Dr. Saeed says “People with the smallest carbon footprints are suffering the most.” 

Dr. Amiera Sawas, a former KCL PHD student who is currently the Director of Programmes and Research at Climate Outreach, has said the high levels of destruction seen in Pakistan is linked to their lack of investment in regions that are most at risk. The floodings have led to a global debate on Climate Justice – which Dr Sawas explains is the debate on “who should pay for the devastation in a country that did not cause climate change” – and how to support sustainable adaption and resilience building in low/middle income countries.

Pakistani individuals are the second largest ethnic minority population in the UK. These devastating floods have affected these communities in numerous ways, as they struggle to aid their country from abroad.

ROAR news reached out to KCL Pakistani Society, but did not receive a response.

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