Saturday, October 8, 2011

Climate change disasters in Pakistan and their consequences

Jawed Ali Khan, Director General (Climate Change and Environment), Planning and Development Division, writing the News (Pakistan): Pakistan is located in the most vulnerable region, which is prone to intense climate change and natural disasters due to its diverse range of terrain stretching cylindrically from the Arabian Sea to the Himalayan peaks.

The country is susceptible to wide-ranging hazards from droughts to floods to earthquakes to cyclones. Pakistan has been suffering from a major drought for the last four years, which is unfortunately continuing with varying degrees all over the country. With the exception of drought years, Pakistan has suffered almost every year from floods as monsoon rains cause rivers to overflow their banks. Almost all of Pakistan regularly experiences earthquakes ranging from moderate to severe in intensity. In addition, the coastal areas of the country are prone to cyclones. Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) by Maplecroft ranked Pakistan in 2009-2010 as 29 but in 2010-2011 it changed to 16, which shows that Pakistan is more vulnerable to disasters.

If proper measures are not taken the cost of adaptation are likely to increase in the next few years. Adaptation costs in year 2010 was 5.75 billion US$, while losses of floods were estimated to be 5 per cent of GDP alone in the same year, and these adaptation costs are likely to be more than 10 per cent in the next 40 years ranging from $13-40 per capita. The climate disaster adaptation costs are proposed to $ 2.03, 2.72, 3.76 billion depending on the frequency of disasters low, medium, and high respectively during 2010-205...

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