Monday, September 27, 2010

Devastating Pakistan floods confirm climate crisis The flooding of Pakistan, affecting 20 million people, is linked to climate change and a sign of more calamities to come. It has cost the country tens of billions of dollars and set back development many years. The recent floods in Pakistan which started at the end of July and continued the whole month of Augustn and into September have been simply devastating. They also illustrate not only that climate change is a real problem, but can have a catastrophic effect on developing countries.

Up to 20 million people had been affected and almost a million homes destroyed or damaged, 10 million were made homeless and many millions inn need of water, food and medicines. There has been widespread damage to agriculture and related livelihoods.

…The Pakistan floods are partly blamed on such domestic factors as the chopping of forests and the mismanagement of land and rivers. However, the Pakistan government has mainly attributed the catastrophe to climate change. The Foreign Minister, speaking at the United Nations, stressed that climate change has become a reality for 170 million Pakistanis and that the present situation confirms the country's “always extreme vulnerability” to the adverse impacts of climate change.

…The economic loss to Pakistan is immense. A Reuter press report (21 Sept 2010) carried an estimate of $43 billion damage caused by the floods. It also quoted US Richard Holbrooke as saying that “the international community is not going to be able to pick up the bill for $20 billion or $30 billion or more”, although it would pick up some, but Pakistan has to raise its own revenue base….

A flood-destroyed bridge in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, Aug. 13, 2010. Photo by the US Army

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