Fleeing the floods: Villagers in southern Pakistan’s Sindh province fled to safety.
1,100 dead, 700,000 cattle dead, 200,000 destroyed and 450,000 homes destroyed, 20,000 square kilometers of unusable farmland, 145 shoveled bridges: the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan is immense, the suffering is immense. 33 million people out of 220 million are affected.
Heavy monsoon rains have caused chaos in all four counties since June. Precipitation is five times the average of the past 30 years. According to Climate Minister Sherry Rahman (61), a third of the country is under water. “This is no longer the normal monsoon – it is a climatic dystopia on our doorstep,” the minister said. “Dystopia” is a story that shows a negative caricature of future humanity.
underwater cotton fields
Several relief organizations have started work, including Helvetas and Unicef. “The situation now is catastrophic, especially in the south,” says Jawad Ali, 63, deputy country director for Helvetas. “The situation has softened somewhat in the north, but the southern Sindh province and parts of Balochistan is a big lake.”
People who lost their homes sought refuge with their acquaintances – or lived outdoors. Many of them will also be housed in emergency shelters. Ali: “We provide food, medicine, and water treatment plants.”
Ali says the lack of basic services is one thing and the other is time after that. Many cotton fields and other agricultural areas have been destroyed. Many Pakistanis will stop working because it will take months for the waters to recede.” In addition, winter is approaching.
UNICEF estimates that a third of the dead are children. “Thousands of families are left homeless and exposed to the endless rains with their young children outdoors,” says Children’s Aid.
UNICEF takes care not only of basic aid, but also establishes temporary schools and supports children with psychological assistance. In Balochistan province, more than two-thirds of hospitals and 40 to 70 percent of schools have been severely damaged.
Authorities expect more deaths as hundreds of mountain villages in the north of the country have been cut off from the outside world. Even army helicopters have trouble landing on rough terrain.
Chance and climate change
Natural disasters such as floods, droughts and landslides have increased in Pakistan in recent years, and air quality has declined. Climate experts attribute this phenomenon to climate change, but also to the proximity to highly industrialized countries such as China and India.
The country has already been hit by an unusually early spring heat wave. Temperatures exceeded 40 degrees in the area.
Sonia I Seneviratne (48), climate researcher at ETH: “Of course there is a stochastic component that has to do with weather fluctuations, but overall heavy rainfall increases.” Western Europe in particular – including Switzerland – is affected by Northern Europe, Central North America, the East Coast of America, Southeast Asia and Northern Asia.
Climate researcher at the European Institute of Technology (ETH) Ritu Knotti, 49, says of the situation in Pakistan: “The impacts are greatly amplified by incorrect or missing preparation and infrastructure, such as flood protection, and on the other hand a lack of funding and capacities to deal with crises. .”
According to the German development and environment organization Germanwatch, Pakistan ranks eighth among the countries most threatened by severe weather events.
The United Nations, along with the Pakistani government, presented an initial six-month aid plan in Geneva on Tuesday. This requires $116 million (about 114 million Swiss francs). The United Nations called on its member states to donate.
Switzerland helps too. Five million francs were transferred to the United Nations Emergency Relief Fund and three million to the Fund of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. In addition, four experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will travel to Pakistan.
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