The Pakistani government requested international aid because the disaster was beyond the capabilities of the country. The US, UK, Iran and UAE have already provided aid, but it is still not enough anywhere.
The country hardly has anything of its own, because its economy was already in free fall before the flood. According to an official in the Ministry of Interior, Salman Sofi, Pakistan was “just recovering when the monsoon disaster struck”.
Prime Minister Shabbas Sharif has made 45 million euros available to the hardest-hit areas, but that is only a fraction of what is really needed. According to the prime minister, 33 million people, 15 percent of the total population, have already been affected. A million homes are said to have been destroyed, 150 bridges were swept away, roads were badly damaged, and an unknown part of the crops destroyed.
For many residents, the warnings come too late. Or too early: several warnings went off in the middle of the night, as a result of which the people were still surprised by the rapid rise of the waters in the morning, forcing them to be rescued by helicopters and boats. Rescue efforts have also become more difficult in some places because the water, which comes from snowy mountains, is frozen.
Sharif flatly compares the current disaster with the 2010 and 2011 disaster, which is by far the worst flood disaster in the country’s history, with floods occurring almost annually.
Senator Sherry Rahman warns that the current “brutal monsoons” are not isolated. Pakistan is also battling with heat waves and forest fires, which puts it on the front line in the face of climate change. Rahman describes what is happening now as a “serious climatic catastrophe”, which in the case of Pakistan is also fueled by the melting of glaciers in the mountains in the north.
“Pakistan has the largest number of glaciers of any country outside the Arctic.” Rahman says global warming is causing more than 7,200 glaciers to melt faster and faster and overflow glacial lakes at higher altitudes, adding to all that rainwater, and worsening the monsoon disaster. “By the time the rains recede, a quarter or a third of Pakistan’s area will be under water,” Rahman told Turkish channel TRT.
The shipment of water from the mountains in the north is now slowly shifting, including across the Indus, to the south, where the province of Indus has been hard hit. On Sunday alone, 119 people died in flash floods in Pakistan, most of them in the northern Khyber Paktunkwa province. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from the northern Swat River basin.
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