Published: 30th August 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Hit by deadly floods, are Pakistan's neighbours coming to their rescue?
Countries have extended their condolences and support with financial aid as the majority of the country is drowning in flood water
It is monsoon time for many parts of South Asia. But for Pakistan, instead of hot chai and samosas, the people are in the midst of unprecedented floods. The country has received the highest rainfall this year, leading to floods, which have killed at least 1,000 people and displaced approximately 3.6 lakh people, as per a report by Reuters. This non-stop torrential rain for eight weeks is certainly not normal — it has impacted 3.3 crore people. Now, there is news that the country might see another downpour in September!
While the country often receives on and off downpours, what is unusual is a rainfall of 37.5 centimetres (14.8 inches) in just one day, which is nearly three times more than the national average in the past three decades. A small town in Sindh received over 170 cm of rain in just one day! Officials said, "Pakistan is going through its longest, hardest, most unrelenting cycle of monsoons along with river flooding now from the north."
But how is the current flood situation affecting Pakistan's ties with other countries? We answer this and a lot more with today's #WhatTheFAQ.
Are they resuming trade with India?
After witnessing a huge price hike of vegetables and fruits as the supply of these from Balochistan, Sindh and south Punjab have been badly affected, the country is considering importing vegetables and other food from India. Talking to a local news channel, Geo, on Monday, August 29, Pakistan's Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said, "We can consider importing vegetables from India." Additionally, he stated that Turkey and Iran are other options. It was in 2019, following the decision to revoke a special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, that Islamabad downgraded its trade ties with New Delhi.
What about foreign aid?
International Monetary Fund (IMF): Agreed to release $1.17 billion (€1.17 billion) funds
United Nations (UN): Allocated 2.6 million pounds (Rs 24,27,27,810.00) for relief measures
Turkey: On Sunday, the first Turkish plane with relief goods arrived. The Turkish Red Crescent Society is also providing cash assistance of Rs 16,000 along with 300 kits, 600 jerry cans and 1,500 mosquito nets to 300 families in Jaffarabad. Turkey's Ministry of Interior, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency will send 100 tents and 1,000 blankets by air cargo along with humanitarian aid.
United Arab Emirates (UAE): On Sunday, the first flight carrying over 3,000 tonnes of relief goods reached the PAF Base Nur Khan. In the coming days, at least 15 planes loaded with relief goods from the UAE are set to land in the country.
Canada: The government embarked USD 20,000 (Rs 15,95,870.00) to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for the relief operations
Having said that, condolence messages have poured in from various heads of countries. These include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But why such severe floods in Pakistan?
Stating that this time the country received the highest rainfall in more than three decades, Pakistan’s federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman termed this a “climate catastrophe". By definition, a climate catastrophe is 'rapid temperature increase', 'abrupt' global climate change, 'irreversible' climate change impacts and 'large-scale singularities'.
Reacting to this, the federal minister tweeted, "This season, we witnessed a completely unprecedented downpour with the current 8th spell of rainfall when the average is usually 4-5, which is why many were unprepared. Our infrastructure is paralyzed & people are desperate for shelter and food.”
On the contrary, Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and a member of Pakistan's Climate Change Council said that Pakistan faced similar flooding and devastation in 2010, which killed nearly 2,000. Citing that not all of the problem is climate change, Suleri said that post the 2010 incident, the government didn't implement plans to prevent future flooding by preventing construction and homes in flood-prone areas and river beds.
What are the adverse climatic changes Pakistan experiences?
The current floods have killed at least 1,136 people and affected more than 3.3 crore, over 15% of the country's population. Roads, crops, homes, bridges and other infrastructure have been washed away. At least 20 dams have been breached and the heat has been as relentless as the rain. Pakistan, which usually experiences 45 degrees Celsius in May, faced scorching temperatures higher than 50 degrees Celsius in places like Jacobabad and Dadu.
What are the experts saying?
Scientists and officials said that the disaster is hitting a poor country that has contributed relatively little to the world's climate problem. Since 1959, Pakistan has emitted about 0.4% of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, compared to 21.5% by the United States and 16.4% by China. Around the world, “intense rainstorms are getting more intense,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. Pakistan “is considered the eighth most vulnerable country to climate change,” stated Moshin Hafeez, a Lahore-based climate scientist at the International Water Management Institute.