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Deadly Monsoons and Floods Devastate Pakistan
By: Samuel Lin
The monsoon season in Pakistan, which lasts from June until September, was particularly lethal this year. The rain flooded streets and homes, and caused more than 300 casualties. Experts think this year was so deadly because of climate change, poor infrastructure, and the government’s inaction.
During this year’s monsoon season, 9,000 homes and slums were destroyed and demolished, according to voanews.com. Impoverished areas with unstable houses and inadequate supplies were hit hardest. Infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and highways, were also ruined.
In the province of Balochistan alone, eight dams have burst because of the heavy rain and at least nine bridges have been damaged, according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). In addition, over 700 livestock animals in the region have been killed.
The monsoons and floods have had a financial impact as well. Markets and stores, and the costly belongings inside, were swept away or destroyed by the flood, a loss of millions or billions of dollars.
“Traders rushed to their shops to shift their stocks to safe spots but to no avail, as there was so much water that the roads were impassable,” said Hakeem Shah, a trader affected by monsoon storms.
The Pakistani government did not do anything to lessen the impact of the monsoons, despite past monsoon calamities.
“The government has learned no lessons from past disasters,” said Fazal Ali, an accountant who had to move to a hotel after his house was destroyed by a flood.
Another resident impacted by the monsoons, Murtaza Hussain, said “There was no help from the government. Every year, the government says there will be no flooding, but the problem is getting worse.”
Monsoon rains will only get worse with climate change. Climate change has caused more severe weather, including more devastating monsoons. According to Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister of climate change, the monsoon rains this year were 87 percent heavier than the average downpour. On July 24, it rained more than 2.3 inches in Karachi in the span of a few hours. That is equivalent to one month’s worth of rainfall.
Many regions of Pakistan are impoverished, which makes the monsoons even more deadly. According to the World Bank, 50 percent of the Karachi residents live in informal settlements, such as slums. According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries.
Pakistan Death Toll From Monsoon Rains, Flooding Tops 300