For Pakistan, 2022 could remain the year of all climatic disasters. First, there were infernal heat in the spring, reaching 50 degrees in some localities in May and aggravating the melting of the glaciers in the high mountains and the drought in the plains; then, since the early onset of the monsoon in mid-June, torrential rains, combined with floods, submerged a third of the country.
That “exceeds any limit, any standard observed in the past”, alerted, on August 29, in an interview with AFP, the Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman – including the floods of 2010, which claimed 2,000 victims. The current toll, which is worsening hour by hour, is very provisional due to the difficulty for relief workers to reach villages located in remote mountainous regions and cut off from the rest of the country by the destruction of roads or bridges, carried away by the waves.
“We are used to the monsoon every year, but have never seen anything like it”recalled the Minister. “Eight weeks of constant showers” which hit hardest in regions already heavily affected by the high spring temperatures.
Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to climate change. It is in eighth position among the countries most affected by extreme weather events, according to a study by the NGO Germanwatch published in 2021. Its population, weakened by poverty and growing inequalities, is particularly exposed to climatic hazards. And the public authorities, bogged down in repeated political crises, have not yet managed to put in place effective prevention and risk management strategies. Pushed to the limits of its ability to adapt by climate change, Pakistan may take time to recover from this new disaster.
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