Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Have Deadly Monsoon Floods Replenished Groundwater to End Long Drought in Pakistan?

Pakistan has seen unprecedented rains followed by massive floods in the current monsoon season. Hundreds of people have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been rendered homeless. After the unfolding of the tragedy, it's now time for renewal. New green shoots are sprouting in Thar desert, indicating the end of the long-running drought in Pakistan. The large Indus Basin aquifer has been significantly recharged. Groundwater has been replenished to a large extent for many years to come, raising hopes for more water for growing crops and raising livestock.  


Sunset in Lush Green Thar Desert After Monsoon 2022. Credit: Emmanuel Guddu

Greening of Thar Desert in Sindh, Pakistan. Source: Emmanuel Guddu


The heavy monsoon rains will help to kick-start the sowing of major Kharif (autumn) crops including rice, cotton, sugarcane and corn after about a month's delay.  “There was 40% less water available for the Kharif season (during May-June 2022),” an official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research said while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday. Earlier in March this year, Pakistan's Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) had said “for the Kharif year 2022, the water availability in canals head will be 65.84 million acre feet (MAF) against last year’s 65.08 MAF”. Recent rains have helped fill up major water reservoirs across the country.  About 150,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released from Pakistan's largest Tarbela dam which is more than the combined irrigation needs of the two provinces.  It is also generating over 3,000 MW of electricity, media reports.
 

Pakistan Monsoon Rainfall July 2022. Source: PMD

Pakistan Drought Monitor. Source: NDMC, PMD

Pakistan Meteorological Department data shows that Pakistan has seen far more rainfall than normal. About 178 mm of rain has fallen in the country, an increase of 180.5% of normal for the month of July. 

NASA Groundwater Map of August 8, 2022. Source: NASA GRACE

Recent satellite maps from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirm significant groundwater growth in Pakistan. The improvement becomes much more apparent when the latest map is compared with one from 2014.
 
Satellite Groundwater Map of 2014. Source: NASA

Pakistan’s Indus Basin Irrigation System is the world's largest artificial groundwater recharge system, according to the World Bank.  A network of canals dug since the 16th century has recharged the Indus Basin aquifer in Pakistan which now has about 1.2 million tube wells extracting 50 million acre feet of water every year.  NASA satellite maps show that Pakistan is among the places worst affected by rapid depletion of groundwater.  Improved groundwater management is crucial for a healthy, prosperous, and green Pakistan. It appears that the groundwater in the Indus Basin has been replenished to a large extent for many years to come, raising hopes for more water for farmers to grow crops to feed and clothe people and raise livestock. 

Related Links:





35 comments:

Syed said...

PPP has built nearly 120 small dam reservoirs, all larger than San Pablo dam (37K acre feet) and Calaveras dam (97K acre feet) in San Francisco Bay Area. Another 65 dams in Sindh are under construction.

Riaz Haq said...

60 Small Dams Built, 31 Under Construction In Sindh, claims Murtaza Wahab

https://nation.com.pk/2020/09/20/60-small-dams-built-31-under-construction-in-sindh-says-murtaza-wahab/


Barrister Murtaza Wahab has said that as many as 60 small dams have been constructed in Sindh aimed at meeting the water needs of far-flung areas.

In a social media statement the spokesman of Sindh government said that these small dams had been built to save water for cultivation. Murtaza Wahab who was also provincial Advisor for Law had shared a video of Kali Das Dam, built in Nagar Parkar in Thar.

This dam helping the agriculture economy in the region, Wahab further said.

In an earlier statement Wahab had said that around 31 new dams were under construction.

The Sindh government had launched a number of small dams projects, with a total cost of Rs 12,211 million. Various potential sites were identified for small water reservoirs, along the Kirthar mountain on the western side of the province, he added. “There are strong opportunities to store rainwater in natural catchments of the Kirthar hills which can be used for cultivation, livestock and human consumption on sustainable basis,” an expert said, adding that the Kirthar mountain range, shared by Balochistan and Sindh, extends southward for about 300km from the Mula River in east-central Balochistan to the Cape Muari, west of Karachi on the Arabian Sea. The areas identified for small dams included upper Kohistan, lower Kohistan, central Kohistan, Nagarparkar and Khairpur.

Murtaza Wahab in an earlier statement said that among the completed small dams 28 dams projects were completed under the province’s Annual Development Plan (ADP) while 22 dams were under the federally-funded Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

He said that the number of total proposed dams stands at 122 and the provincial government was committed to accomplish all the dams projects at the earliest. Among these, he added, some 12 dams were located in Nagarparkar–Mithi, while 14 dams in Kohistan-I Dadu and 24 dams in Kohistan-II Jamshoro range.

Jamal said...

I'm told that after a major flood there is always a bumper harvest.

Malik said...

Unfortunately we have not built any reservoirs to harness this resource. Majority will wash away into the seas after causing destruction. Due to drought, your soil turns into clay and does not absorb much. Water has to stay on it for a longer period of time.



Hopefully it does alleviate the drought conditions.

Riaz Haq said...

Malik: "Unfortunately we have not built any reservoirs to harness this resource"

The huge Indus Basin's underground aquifers represent the biggest water storage Pakistan has. Tube wells provide bout 50 million acre feet of groundwater a year from these aquifers. They have been severely depleted. The recent floods have hopefully replenished these aquifers.


https://www.riazhaq.com/2021/04/groundwater-depletion-in-pakistan.html

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan floods kill 580 and bring misery to millions
Government accused of inaction as downpours leave schools destroyed, homes ruined, crops failing and cholera on the rise

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/aug/17/pakistan-floods-kill-580-and-bring-misery-to-millions


More than 580 people have died and thousands have lost their homes across Pakistan as torrential rains batter the country.

An estimated 1 million have been affected by heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides since July as Pakistan endured more than 60% of its normal total monsoon rainfall in three weeks.

Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces have been the worst affected, with heavy rainfall predicted across Pakistan until Friday. At least one man was killed in Karachi on Tuesday as non-stop rains hit Pakistan’s largest city for two consecutive days.

More than 40 people have died in Karachi due to heavy rains since July.

Approximately 200 people have died in Balochistan – Pakistan’s biggest and poorest province – which is suffering its worst floods in more than 30 years. The National Disaster Management Authority said the province had received 305% more rain than the annual average.

Eighteen of Balochistan’s 26 districts have been declared “calamity-hit” by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. People have been forced to abandon their homes as crops and livestock were washed away across the province. Hundreds of miles of road have been damaged, making areas inaccessible to emergency services.

More than 570 schools have been destroyed, and cholera cases have been reported.

Mohammed Safar’s farm in Lasbela, Balochistan, was washed away when the rains came at on 12 July. It was 9am, and he and his family had to run for higher ground. “If it had flooded at any other time, we might have been washed away like plates in my kitchen. I have lost my home, crops and everything in this flood.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Meteorological Department: Weekly Drought Information (15 August 2022) [EN/UR]

https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/pakistan-meteorological-department-weekly-drought-information-15-august-2022-enur

During last five days, more light to heavy rainfall events reported from many districts of both Balochistan and Sindh. Due to the recent rains, some urban flooding events were observed. Daytime temperatures were also seen to be dropped in different cities. These recent rains in both provinces has provided significant relief to the drought affected areas.

Rainfall recorded in Sindh and Balochistan during the period 11-15 August, 2022 is as under:

Duration of forecast: 16-22 August, 2022

According to meteorological conditions, in the next week some more rains are expected at different places in Balochistan and Sindh. Recent rains have produced significant effect to the drought affected areas of both provinces. Very little area of western Balochistan is still remained under mild drought-like situation.

Note: More detailed data and analyzed maps may be accessed from the National Drought Monitoring Centre, PMD website: https://ndmc.pmd.gov.pk/new/

samir sardana said...

THIS IS THE REVELATION FROM THE HILL,TO FOCUS ON AGRI & AGRI EXPORTS.

PAKISTAN HAS HAD UNPRECEDENTED MONSOONS ! ALLAH HAS SENT THE SIGNAL,AND RECHARGED THE RESERVOIRS,WATER TABLES AND THE IWB AND THE UNDERGROUND SARASWATI ! WATER MEANS NO NEED OF POWER FOR AGRI - ONLY GAS,IN THE FROM OF UREA (AN THAT GAS AND UREA,IS IN AMPLE SUPPLY!

AGRI EXPORTS = EXPORT OF WATER + LABOR (AND BOTH R FREE,AS FARML ABOUR HAS NO ALT- OPTION)
TEXTILE EXPORTS = EXPORT OF LBOUR+ POWER + GAS + DIESEL(AND NOTHING IS FREE AND MOST INPUTS ARE IMPORTED)

WHAT IS PAKISTAN WAITING FOR ?

No matter the manufacturing efficiency of Pakistan,it cannot ever really compete,in large scale exports,as there will never be economies of scale,due to lack of low cost power and gas- especially,as many Pakistani plants,use gas,as a feedstock

then there is the cost of capital,FX risk,Banking constraints,and fuel cost of logistics.

THE ONLY SECTOR WHOSE COMPETITIVNESSS RISES,IN BAD FX,ENERGY SHOCK AND WAR - FOR PAKISTAN = AGRI EXPORTS,AND NOW,PAKISTAN HAS TO FOCUS,ON THIS SECTOR

THIS IS THE FUTURE FOR PAKISTAN

AGRI EXPORTS = EXPORT OF WATER + LABOR (AND BOTH R FREE,AS FARMLABOUR HAS NO ALT- OPTION)

TEXTILE EXPORTS = EXPORT OF LABOUR+ POWER + GAS + DIESEL(AND NOTHING IS FREE AND MOST INPUTS ARE IMPORTED)

WHENEVER THERE IS WAR - THERE IS AN OIL/ENERGY AND LOGISTICS SHOCK,WHICH PUSHES UP RATES OF OIL,GAS,UREA,AGRI AND FREIGHT AND HAMMERS THE LDC FX (LIKE PKR)

ALL THIS BENEFITS PAKISTANI AGRI AND AGRI EXPORTS. IT IS THE PERFECT HEDGE,TO A FX/ENERGY SHOCK FOR PAKISTAN (AND THESE SHOCKS WILL KEEP COMING)

AGRI EXPORTS = EXPORT OF WATER+ CO2 + LABOUR= ALL FREE FOR PAKISTAN

SO THE SOLUTION = GREEN HOUSE FARMING + HYDROPONICS+ RE POWER + USING THE FREE CO2 OF INDUSTRY + MANUFACTURING CO2 (FROM RE POWER),TO BE PUMPED INTO THE GREEN HOUSE for
THE PLANTS!

AND THIS IS WHERE,THE PAKISTANI INDUSTRY,COMES IN (WITH THE MONEY + FREE CO2)- AS IT IS AN OFFSET,TO STEEL,CEMENT,OIL,GAS,COAL,AND FX RISK

AND SO DOES,PRC AND CPEC VIA, AGRI ECONOMIC ZONES!

THE SAME MODEL CAN BE USED IN AFGHANISTAN !THIS WILL ALSO END,ALL INSURGENCIES AND STRIFE FUNDED BY RAW AND THEIR ILK ! AND ONCE,WATER REACHES BALOCHISTAN,THEN HYDROPONICS WILL BECOME OBSOLETE !

PAKISTAN IS AT THE CUSP,OF A QUANTUM LEAP ! dindooohindoo

AGRI IS THE NEW OIL !AND WITH AGRI,COMES ANIMAL HUSBANDRY - AND THE DESERTS,OF WEST ASIA,AND NORTH AFRICA,ARE THE MARKET (NEXT DOOR! COULD ALLAH HAVE GIVEN MORE ?)





Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan federal minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman said, "Balochistan recorded more than 600 per cent above-normal rainfall during these monsoon spells since mid-June while Sindh received 500 per cent more rain. Major cities are being warned against urban flooding, prolonged electricity outages, and flash floods.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/pakistan-heavy-rains-kill-eight-more-in-balochistan-tally-reaches-196-122081500069_1.html

Balochistan in particular has seen uncharacteristically heavy rains during the monsoon season this year. The recent floods in the province triggered by the rains have devastated the homes of thousands of people, especially in the Lasbela District.

While the Meteorological Department on Friday forecast thunderstorms with a few "heavy" to "very heavy" falls and occasional strong winds in several parts of Sindh in the next two days.

Besides, heavy rains over Khuzdar, Lasbela, and Hub districts and over the Kirthar mountain range may create extra pressure on Hub and Thaddo dams and downstream areas.

Heavy falls may create waterlogging and urban flooding in low-lying areas during the forecast period, the Dawn reported.

Earlier, PDMA said that disastrous spells of monsoon rains have led to severe damage on six different highways with 670 km in length and 16 bridges. Additionally, 1,98,461 acres of crops were destroyed amid the natural disaster.

Pakistan federal minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman said, "Balochistan recorded more than 600 per cent above-normal rainfall during these monsoon spells since mid-June while Sindh received 500 per cent more rain. Major cities are being warned against urban flooding, prolonged electricity outages, and flash floods."

The effects of climate change continue to exacerbate in the country as it experienced lengthy heatwaves and forest fires, he added.

Riaz Haq said...

#Internet goes down for several hours in parts of #Pakistan. Telecom regulator said: “Due to heavy rainfall and flooding, PTCL’s fiber network is experiencing some technical failures" #monsoon #flooding #Sindh #Karachi #fiber #telecommunications https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/key-pakistani-internet-providers-report-outage-2022-08-19/


Internet connectivity was fully restored in central and northern parts of Pakistan on Friday after an hours-long outage caused by heavy rain and flooding, the country’s telecoms regulator said.

Major Pakistani telecom operators previously reported connectivity cuts in some regions, including the capital and other major urban centers, with one company reporting flooding to be responsible for the problem.

“The technical malfunction in data networks that caused internet outages in Pakistan has been resolved,” the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said in a statement, adding that all internet services were back to normal.

State-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd’s (PTCL) (PTCA.PSX) previously said its fiber network was experiencing errors and users in northern and central regions were facing outage.

“Due to heavy rainfall and flooding, PTCL’s fiber network is experiencing some technical failures,” it said on Twitter.

He later said that the error had been fixed.

PTCL’s problems had a knock-on effect on other service providers, including mobile data.

Telenor Pakistan, backed by Norway’s Telenor (TEL.OL), said its internet network was down due to a network problem at its ISP.

Pakistani users posting on social media say other telecom providers have gone out of business, but there were no statements about other companies’ problems.

Widespread internet outages were reported in the capital Islamabad and the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest urban center, where both fixed broadband and mobile network users reported no connection.

But numerous users reported that Pakistan’s largest telecommunications provider, Jazz, owned by Amsterdam-listed global provider Veon (VON.AS), remained in operation during the outage.

“The Jazz network is generally unaffected by our robust architecture and multiple layers of protection to provide a consistent experience for our users,” Jazz’s head of external communications, Khayyam Siddiqi, told Reuters.

Pakistan, a country of about 220 million inhabitants, has a large and growing number of internet users. According to the PTA, there are 116 million users of 3G and 4G services and 119 million broadband subscribers.

Riaz Haq said...

During the first fortnight of August 2022, very high to High amount of rainfall reported from southern parts of Punjab, Sindh and the areas of Balochistan adjacent to Sindh. Spatial distribution of the rainfall is shown in Fig. 1. The chief amounts of rainfall recorded across Pakistan during the period 1-15 August, 2022 are shown in Table-1 below;

https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/pakistan-fortnightly-drought-watch-bulletin-1-15-august-2022

Fig. 2 depicts the Percentage Departure of rainfall from normal. Above Normal rainfall received over most of the places in Sindh and adacent areas. Few areas in central, northern and Nokkundi areas in Balochistan received below normal rainfall. Farmers are advised to keep themselves abreast of weather updates and plan field activities accordingly to minimize weather induced losses to matured/cultivated crops.

2. Drought Situation Analysis

Spatial drought analysis results using different indices are represented in Fig. 3. In Balochistan, some areas are facing Moisture stress. Remaining districts of Sindh and Balochistan are facing Moderate and Severe Wet conditions due to very good rains since last month and during this fortnight, while rest of the country have normal conditions.

3. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

Normalized Difference Vegetation Index values during the first fortnight of August 2022 are shown in Fig.4. NDVI values are good in north Punjab and along the Indus belt, depicting the good vegetation over there. low NDVI values are observed in the southern parts of the country, depicting the less vegetation over those areas.

4. Land Surface Temperature (LST)

Land surface Temperatures (LST) during first fortnight of August 2022 represented in Fig. 5. In northern, eastern and central parts of the country, temperatures are decreasing now. Most of the areas in southern and western parts of the country are also showing values of Temperature below 40°C, while central areas are facing temperatures below 35°C. White areas represent no satellite data due to cloudiness.

5. Temperature Vegetation Dryness Index (TVDI)

Temperature Vegetation Dryness Index (TVDI) derived from MODIS product MOD13A2 (NDVI) and MOD11A2 (LST) is shown in Fig.. 6, which depicts Moderate to Mild drought consitions in Nokkundi and Dalbandin areas of Balochistan, while remaining drought areas got some relief due to good rains during the fortnight in these areas.

Riaz Haq said...

Rain in Thar means food and water for all living creatures. The recent monsoon rains have transformed Sindh’s thirsty Thar desert and its sandy land into a lush blanket of wild grass, and the local farmers are ready to cultivate their land.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1704697

Thar is the sixth largest desert in the world and covers 22,000 square kilometres. Over 900 square kilometres of this land is made up of wildlife sanctuaries. As the sun rises over Thar’s dunes, you can hear the tinkling of small and large bells around the necks of the cows, goats and sheep. Peacocks flutter their mesmerising feathers and wild birds chirp in the cool breeze.

The monsoon brings abundant water not only for livestock but also for the different inhabitants of the region, including night owls, eagles, falcons, rabbits, reptiles, snakes, lizards, deer and endangered vultures.

Most farmers, including Meghwar, still employ traditional farming methods, using donkeys and camels. Fifty-year-old farmer Manthar Nohari’s land is near Meghwar’s farm, and both believe that donkey or camel-driven farming is much more conducive to soil fertility.

On a breezy July morning, Nohari drops millet and cluster bean seeds on his farm using a tube-like tool, locally known as narri. “It is an environment-friendly method of cultivation,” he says.

“Thar needs maximum rainfall for a bumper production of crop, which includes fodder for cattle. We will be ready to harvest major crops such as bajra [pearl millet], guar [cluster bean], moong [mung bean] and keerray saim [moth bean] in three months.”

But, in just a month, fruits and vegetables such as guar, mushrooms, tinda [apple gourd], watermelons, snap melons and wild melons will already be available in the local markets in Mithi, Chhachhro, Diplo, Chelhar, Islamkot, Nagarparkar, Daheli and other adjacent areas in the neighbouring Umerkot and Mirpurkhas districts.

“Rain has revived natural ponds and wells, and we are also collecting rainwater in tanks and reservoirs,” says Danish Kumar, a young student, from Charhail. “It will last us for three to four months for drinking and domestic use.”

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH

During the dry period, usually from December to May, Tharis survive on the grasses and residue that they have earlier plucked, dried and stored.

“Now that it has rained, fodder is available in abundance,” says Harish Jaipal. “Later in the month, we will collect it to feed the cattle during grass shortage or drought. This way we won’t need to purchase fodder.”

But while this month the climate may have been on their side, that is not always the case. Every year, scores of people are driven to climate migration within Sindh in search of fodder and livelihood because of extreme weather, chronic water shortages and a lack of opportunities.

“Five months ago, I moved with my family and cattle to the Kotri barrage area,” says Allah Danu, a herdsman who owns 30 cows. “But after heavy rains in Thar, we are going back home,” he says. For Allah Danu, who earns a living by selling milk, the desert will always be his home.

But for most of the year it can be an inhospitable home. If it weren’t, many would not move away. Meghwar is happy with the harvest this year. “We will not have to migrate to Kotri barrage [this year] for fodder and growing food,” he says.

Even when nature is on the side of local Tharis, they continue to face other challenges. They are still battling the issue of illegal encroachment of grasslands by powerful landlords, which deplete fodder resources and cause huge losses to those who don’t own land and rely on livestock as a source of income.

Riaz Haq said...

Officials: Floods kill 777 in Pakistan over last 2 months
Officials say flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains have killed 777 people across Pakistan since mid-June

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/officials-floods-kill-777-pakistan-months-88693311

QUETTA, Pakistan -- Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains have killed 777 people across Pakistan over the last two months, officials said Monday, as rescuers backed by troops raced against time to evacuate thousands of marooned people.

Since June 14, rain and flooding have affected 1.8 million people, and 317,678 of them were still living in relief camps across the country, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. It said out of the 777 killed, about 300 were reported since Aug. 1.

Authorities are setting up more relief and medical camps in remote areas in flood-hit southwestern Baluchistan, southern Sindh and eastern Punjab provinces, where there is much damage.

Authorities said they had dispatched food, tents and other essential items to almost all those areas, where flood-affected people were waiting for the much-need help for the past week. However, videos circulating on social media suggest many people were still waiting for aid in flood-hit regions.

Floods have also damaged nearly 60,000 homes across Pakistan apart from washing away roads and damaging bridges. It has added problems for the rescuers to teach the flood-affected areas to help the victims.

The monsoon season runs from July through September in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Saeed Shah
@SaeedShah
China, Saudi Arabia, UAE + Qatar led the $37bn package, expected to be agreed by IMF board on Monday. But the floods are dealing a new financial blow, causing economic damage of at least $10 billion, estimates
@MiftahIsmail
. Over 1,000 people killed.

https://twitter.com/SaeedShah/status/1563885236198449155?s=20&t=N0vTudMeoI6MeuIHsDP2FA

----------

Pakistan’s government in recent weeks has tied up at least $37 billion in international loans and investments, officials said, pulling the country away from the kind of financial collapse seen in Sri Lanka.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-says-it-has-secured-financing-needed-for-imf-bailout-11661691679

The board of the International Monetary Fund is scheduled to meet Monday to consider a bailout deal worked out between IMF staff and Islamabad, under which the lender will provide $4 billion over the remainder of the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

The IMF required the country to first arrange additional funds to cover the rest of its external funding shortfall for the fiscal year. The full package is now in place, according to the Pakistani government.

Despite that vital step, Pakistan’s economic stability is far from assured. Opposition leader Imran Khan continues a fierce campaign against the government to press for fresh elections, while catastrophic flooding from the summer’s monsoon rain will cost the economy billions of dollars.

Among allies, China led the way, providing more than $10 billion, mostly by rolling over existing loans, Pakistani officials said.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is rolling over a $3 billion loan and providing at least $1.2 billion worth of oil on a deferred-payment basis, the officials said. Riyadh announced last week it also would invest $1 billion in Pakistan. The United Arab Emirates will invest a similar amount in Pakistan’s commercial sector, and it is rolling over a $2.5 billion loan.

Last week, the remaining money was secured, with a dash to Qatar by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. Doha announced it would invest $3 billion in Pakistan.

“It’s not been easy,” Mr. Ismail said in an interview. “I think Pakistan right now is not in danger of default. But our viability depends on the IMF program.”

As the IMF and allies disburse funds, the balance of payments crisis should ease. But the scale of the flooding from heavier-than-usual monsoon rains means that the country will need more financing than it had planned for, warned the Pakistan Business Council, which represents larger companies.

Mr. Ismail, the finance minister, estimated that the economic impact of the floods would be at least $10 billion. That would amount to around 3% of gross domestic product. Some 30 million people have been affected by the flooding and more than 1,000 killed since mid-June, officials say.

When a new government came to power in April, it had warned that the country was at risk of defaulting on its foreign debt payments. The situation was made worse by the price shock from the Ukraine war, which pushed up the cost of fuel and other imports.

Pakistan is due to make loan repayments of nearly $21 billion in the current financial year. In addition, it needs to cover its current-account deficit, which is officially forecast at $9.2 billion.

The rest of the new funding is aimed at building up foreign currency reserves—now only enough to cover about six weeks of imports—by the end of the fiscal year, officials say.

The IMF didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s government in recent weeks has tied up at least $37 billion in international loans and investments, officials said, pulling the country away from the kind of financial collapse seen in Sri Lanka.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-says-it-has-secured-financing-needed-for-imf-bailout-11661691679

Tahir Abbas, head of research at Arif Habib, a Pakistani stockbroker, said that the country’s debt challenge didn’t become as acute as Sri Lanka’s, because its borrowings were owed mostly to other countries or multilateral agencies, which can be more easily renegotiated. Colombo, which defaulted on its sovereign debt in May, had also borrowed heavily from private-sector bondholders.

“We are in a good position. The IMF deal is secured, friendly countries have helped, and global commodity prices are coming down,” Mr. Abbas said.

However, the confrontation between the government and the leader it replaced in April has expanded to the IMF deal in recent days. Mr. Khan’s political party, which runs the governments of two of Pakistan’s four provinces, threatened to undermine the terms of the IMF agreement by not providing funds due from the provinces to the central government.

The opposition is hitting back after the government charged Mr. Khan with terrorism over a recent speech. He also faces a hearing over a contempt of court charge this week. Mr. Khan risks arrest, and being barred from politics, from the cases.

Mr. Ismail also faces calls to renegotiate the program from influential voices within his own party, upset about the austerity measures imposed as part of the program. Gasoline and electricity prices have been raised sharply and government spending reined in. Inflation hit 45% in a weekly official index released on Aug. 25.

The flooding is likely to add to inflation, with 2 million acres of crops affected, as well as hit exports.

The immediate relief effort could cost the authorities at least $1 billion, the finance minister said. Pakistan has appealed for international aid to help cope with the floods, with $500 million promised so far.

Riaz Haq said...

Malik Amin Aslam
@aminattock
@HamidMirPAK
reporting from the #FloodsInPakistan and explains how
@ImranKhanPTI
#10BillionTreesTsunami averted a major human disaster - #Trees acted as a #NaturalDefense and sacrificed while saving human lives

https://twitter.com/aminattock/status/1563803992525783041?s=20&t=N0vTudMeoI6MeuIHsDP2FA

Riaz Haq said...

Highest Rainfall in 30 Years Threatens Pakistan’s Recovery


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-27/highest-rainfall-in-30-years-threatens-pakistan-s-recovery

Pakistan’s economic recovery is facing new risks after the highest rainfall in at least three decades threatens a humanitarian crisis in the world’s fifth most populous nation.

Rainfall so far this year is running at more than 780% above average levels, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said in a text message. About 1,000 people have been killed, while thousands are without shelter and food in a crisis that has impacted 30 million people, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

The central bank said earlier this week the heavy rain is a downside risk to growth, which was expected to be between 3% to 4% in the year starting July down from 6% last year. Millions of acres of farmland, including part of the prized cotton crop, have been destroyed in a country where the agricultural sector accounts for about a quarter of the economy.

The damage from rainfall this year could increase the nation’s current account deficit by $4.4 billion, according to JS Global Capital.

Pakistan has appealed to international donors for help to deal with the humanitarian fallout of the unprecedented rains. The South Asian nation is already struggling to emerge from a deep economic crisis. The International Monetary Fund meets on Monday and is expected to resume a $6 billion loan program for the country after Pakistan secured some aid from Arab nations.

Rainfall has exceeded levels recorded during catastrophic flash floods in 2010, which prompted $4.5 billion in support from the IMF, the United Nations, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, according to a report by Karachi-based JS Global Capital Ltd. The 2010 floods prompted Paktistan to introduce a 15% surchage on all income to fund additional costs for relief, restoration and prospective subsidies for the affected industries.

Riaz Haq said...

Saeed Shah
@SaeedShah
China, Saudi Arabia, UAE + Qatar led the $37bn package, expected to be agreed by IMF board on Monday. But the floods are dealing a new financial blow, causing economic damage of at least $10 billion, estimates
@MiftahIsmail
. Over 1,000 people killed.

https://twitter.com/SaeedShah/status/1563885236198449155?s=20&t=N0vTudMeoI6MeuIHsDP2FA

----------

Pakistan’s government in recent weeks has tied up at least $37 billion in international loans and investments, officials said, pulling the country away from the kind of financial collapse seen in Sri Lanka.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-says-it-has-secured-financing-needed-for-imf-bailout-11661691679

The board of the International Monetary Fund is scheduled to meet Monday to consider a bailout deal worked out between IMF staff and Islamabad, under which the lender will provide $4 billion over the remainder of the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

The IMF required the country to first arrange additional funds to cover the rest of its external funding shortfall for the fiscal year. The full package is now in place, according to the Pakistani government.

Despite that vital step, Pakistan’s economic stability is far from assured. Opposition leader Imran Khan continues a fierce campaign against the government to press for fresh elections, while catastrophic flooding from the summer’s monsoon rain will cost the economy billions of dollars.

Among allies, China led the way, providing more than $10 billion, mostly by rolling over existing loans, Pakistani officials said.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is rolling over a $3 billion loan and providing at least $1.2 billion worth of oil on a deferred-payment basis, the officials said. Riyadh announced last week it also would invest $1 billion in Pakistan. The United Arab Emirates will invest a similar amount in Pakistan’s commercial sector, and it is rolling over a $2.5 billion loan.

Last week, the remaining money was secured, with a dash to Qatar by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. Doha announced it would invest $3 billion in Pakistan.

“It’s not been easy,” Mr. Ismail said in an interview. “I think Pakistan right now is not in danger of default. But our viability depends on the IMF program.”

As the IMF and allies disburse funds, the balance of payments crisis should ease. But the scale of the flooding from heavier-than-usual monsoon rains means that the country will need more financing than it had planned for, warned the Pakistan Business Council, which represents larger companies.

Mr. Ismail, the finance minister, estimated that the economic impact of the floods would be at least $10 billion. That would amount to around 3% of gross domestic product. Some 30 million people have been affected by the flooding and more than 1,000 killed since mid-June, officials say.

When a new government came to power in April, it had warned that the country was at risk of defaulting on its foreign debt payments. The situation was made worse by the price shock from the Ukraine war, which pushed up the cost of fuel and other imports.

Pakistan is due to make loan repayments of nearly $21 billion in the current financial year. In addition, it needs to cover its current-account deficit, which is officially forecast at $9.2 billion.

The rest of the new funding is aimed at building up foreign currency reserves—now only enough to cover about six weeks of imports—by the end of the fiscal year, officials say.

The IMF didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s government in recent weeks has tied up at least $37 billion in international loans and investments, officials said, pulling the country away from the kind of financial collapse seen in Sri Lanka.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-says-it-has-secured-financing-needed-for-imf-bailout-11661691679

Tahir Abbas, head of research at Arif Habib, a Pakistani stockbroker, said that the country’s debt challenge didn’t become as acute as Sri Lanka’s, because its borrowings were owed mostly to other countries or multilateral agencies, which can be more easily renegotiated. Colombo, which defaulted on its sovereign debt in May, had also borrowed heavily from private-sector bondholders.

“We are in a good position. The IMF deal is secured, friendly countries have helped, and global commodity prices are coming down,” Mr. Abbas said.

However, the confrontation between the government and the leader it replaced in April has expanded to the IMF deal in recent days. Mr. Khan’s political party, which runs the governments of two of Pakistan’s four provinces, threatened to undermine the terms of the IMF agreement by not providing funds due from the provinces to the central government.

The opposition is hitting back after the government charged Mr. Khan with terrorism over a recent speech. He also faces a hearing over a contempt of court charge this week. Mr. Khan risks arrest, and being barred from politics, from the cases.

Mr. Ismail also faces calls to renegotiate the program from influential voices within his own party, upset about the austerity measures imposed as part of the program. Gasoline and electricity prices have been raised sharply and government spending reined in. Inflation hit 45% in a weekly official index released on Aug. 25.

The flooding is likely to add to inflation, with 2 million acres of crops affected, as well as hit exports.

The immediate relief effort could cost the authorities at least $1 billion, the finance minister said. Pakistan has appealed for international aid to help cope with the floods, with $500 million promised so far.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan floods are ‘a monsoon on steroids’, warns UN chief
By Simon Fraser

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62722117

Pakistan is facing "a monsoon on steroids", the UN's secretary general has warned, after floods submerged a third of the country.

Antonio Guterres urged the world to come to Pakistan's aid as he launched a $160m appeal to help the tens of millions affected in the disaster.

He blamed "the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding".

At least 1,136 people have been killed since June and roads, crops, homes and bridges washed away across the country.

This year's record monsoon is comparable to the devastating floods of 2010 - the deadliest in Pakistan's history - which left more than 2,000 people dead.

In a video message, Mr Guterres called South Asia a "climate crisis hotspot" where people were 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts.

"Let's stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today, it's Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country."

He said the UN appeal aimed to provide 5.2 million people with food, water, sanitation, emergency education and health support.

Officials estimate that more than 33 million Pakistanis - one in seven people - have been affected by the flooding.

Sadia, a student in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, said she felt helpless as her family were cut off in their home village of Jhal Magsi, about eight hours away.

"You can't find a single home that is safe now," she told the BBC's Outside Source programme. "They are under the sky with no help.

"Right now, we are in need of first aid relief like tents, some shelter and some basic food, they can't cook anything. And they need clean water to drink."

On Monday, Pakistan's climate change minister Sherry Rehman described the situation as a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions".

Pakistan produces less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but ranks consistently in the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.


Pakistan's planning minister says estimates suggest the floods have caused at least $10bn (£8.5bn) of damage, and many people face serious food shortages. The country was already suffering from an economic crisis.

Vaste swathes of rich agricultural land have been devastated in this year's monsoon, damaging food supplies and sending prices soaring.

"Things are so expensive because of this flood that we can't buy anything," Zahida Bibi, a shopper at a market in Lahore, told AFP news agency.

The flood situation is most severe in provinces such as Sindh and Balochistan, but mountainous regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been badly hit.

Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate villages cut off in northern Swat Valley, where bridges and roads have been swept away - but even with the help of helicopters, authorities are still struggling to reach those trapped.

"Village after village has been wiped out. Millions of houses have been destroyed," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday after flying over the area in a helicopter.

Riaz Haq said...

The groundwater system underneath Pakistan’s flowing rivers in the Indus plains has at least 400 million acre feet (MAF) of pristine water. This storage is so large that it is equivalent to more than three years of the mean annual flow of the Indus (or 1,000 days of storage, after excluding polluted areas). This should now be seriously considered in the mainstream planning of Pakistan’s water resources.

https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/pakistans-riverine-aquifers-may-save-its-future/


More than a thousand years ago, Alberuni wrote, “India has once been a sea which by degrees has been filled up by the alluvium of the streams.” This view was later endorsed in the late 19th century by Austrian geologist Eduard Suess, who named the sea ‘Tethys Ocean’. Mike Searle, in his 2013 book Colliding Continents explains that the Himalayas resulted from collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate 50 million years ago.

The Indus river and its Sutlej tributary both existed prior to this collision and drained into the Tethys Ocean. The collision gradually closed the sea and the remnants of the Tethys were filled by the material of eroding mountains deposited by the flowing rivers.

The Indus rivers have carried huge silt loads for millions of years, depositing them in the plains all the way to the delta. In their 1988 book, Irrigated Agriculture of Pakistan, Nazir Ahmad and Ghulam Rasul Chaudhry explained that high sediment loads in the Indus river system have created nearly 200,000 square kilometres of flatlands. These flatlands, to a considerable depth, are made up of unconsolidated and granular formations, capable of holding large volumes of water. “This reservoir of water is so vast, it ranks among the natural wonders of the world,” the authors write as they describe the groundwater resources of the Indus basin.

Aloys Arthur Michel, in his 1967 book, The Indus Rivers, describes these alluvial deposits as unconsolidated material, deeper than one mile, forming a large homogeneous groundwater reservoir with a capacity “at least ten times the annual runoff of the Indus rivers”.

This begs the question, that if we knew about this groundwater storage potential for decades, why has it never been discussed in the mainstream planning for sustainable exploitation to benefit the inhabitants of the Indus basin?

The reasons could have been many. The military dictatorship in place at the time of the signing of the Indus Water Treaty set a future discourse on the harnessing of surface waters only; a drift into debt economy and the lure of easy dollars in mega infrastructure projects for water; interest groups pushing large dams in the 1950s and 60s – an era when the whole world was going on a binge of building large dams; a lack of capacity at home to scrutinise proposals being advised by foreign ‘experts’ with vested interests; the obvious advantages of the visibility of big structures which can be loudly publicised in political arenas and so on. The result was that Pakistan chose the path of building mega-dams, river diversions and gravity-based flood irrigation systems. In doing so, we severely deteriorated our aquifers through waterlogging, salinity, unmanaged abstractions and indiscriminate pollution.

But that was the past. Is it possible to pursue a different path now?

Water quality

First, given the fact that this vast aquifer sits on top of a filled-up sea, its deeper formations are naturally saline. In the northern parts of the alluvial plains, the aquifer may hold sweet water up to a depth of a thousand feet or so, but as one moves south, the depth of sweet water gradually reduces.

Riaz Haq said...

To save Pakistan, look under its rivers
More than 400 million acre feet of existing fresh water storage exists in Pakistan’s riverine aquifers, and may be the key to managing the country’s water security

https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/pakistans-riverine-aquifers-may-save-its-future/

In the Indus delta, sweet groundwater may occur only within the top hundred feet or less. Similarly, as we horizontally move away from main river beds, the water quality becomes brackish. The existence of deep high-capacity tube wells in previous Salinity Control and Reclamation (SCARP) projects and many deep tube wells in the private sector today, have contaminated the shallower fresh water with saline upwelling. In many areas away from the rivers, shallow layers of groundwater have been exploited by irrigation tube wells and what remains n


ow is brackish to saline groundwater.

Such uninformed groundwater pumping, besides deteriorating the aquifers, has also exacerbated secondary salinisation and loss of fertile soils.

The map in Figure 1 shows the extent of freshwater aquifers in the Indus plains. It excludes the areas where water quality is saline, brackish or of marginal quality. Out of 200,000 square kilometres of the Indus plains, the current fresh groundwater occurrence in Pakistan is approximately spread over 88,000 square kilometres.

Second, the aquifer system is unconfined. In other words there is no impervious or confining layer above the groundwater to protect it from surface pollution or contamination. In the complete absence of groundwater management in mainstream planning, there is no concept of well-head protection and management of recharge zones.

Consequently, freshwater shallow aquifers underneath the irrigated areas have mostly been polluted with agro-chemicals (fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides), and urban aquifers have been contaminated with sewage and industrial wastes.

Third, and very alarming, is arsenic contamination in the Indus plains aquifers. A series of collaborative projects by Swiss, Chinese and Pakistani organisations have undertaken comprehensive studies on the occurrence of arsenic in the groundwater of the Indus plains. The studies have revealed occurrence of arsenic above 10 microgrammes per litre (the WHO safe drinking water limit) in many areas and found a significant correlation of this occurrence in areas with extensive agriculture and industrial pollution.

----------

If we plan to supply water to the communities at the rate of 40 gallons per person per day (current standard being followed by WASA – the Water and Sanitation Authority in Pakistan) for a population of 220 million, the total requirement of water supply does not exceed 12 MAF, while the resource can be continuously replenished by nature through flowing rivers.

What the government needs is mechanisms – financial, organisational and structural — capable of delivering water from this resource to the people, and simultaneously ensuring the sustainability of the resource. A well thought-of, integrated, coordinated and robust management plan enveloped in a phase-wise implementation blueprint needs to be chalked out.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan floods kill more than 1,000 and threaten economic recovery | Financial Times

https://www.ft.com/content/0ce97a59-98b3-4529-a75e-d128ff6cc774



“It’s the climate catastrophe of the decade,” climate change and environment minister Sherry Rehman told the Financial Times in an interview. “In living memory, we have not seen such a biblical flood come to Pakistan.”


---------

More than 1,000 people have been killed and nearly 1mn homes damaged in the worst flooding to hit Pakistan in at least a decade, as the latest in a series of climate change-induced catastrophes imperils the country’s economic recovery.

Torrential rains and flooding have swept through Pakistan in recent weeks, hitting Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three of the country’s four provinces. Sindh has received almost eight times the average amount of rainfall in August, according to government data, wiping out crops such as rice and cotton.

Officials estimated that more than 30mn people have been affected, or about 15 per cent of the population, and thousands were forced to abandon their homes.

“It’s the climate catastrophe of the decade,” climate change and environment minister Sherry Rehman told the Financial Times in an interview. “In living memory, we have not seen such a biblical flood come to Pakistan.”

South Asia has been beset by extreme weather events in recent months, with heatwaves succeeded by torrential rains that have killed thousands of people across India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The floods have added to Pakistan’s financial distress. The IMF’s board on Monday is expected to approve a $1.2bn disbursement to shore up the country’s dwindling foreign currency reserves, which have fallen to about five weeks’ worth of cover for imports.

Inflation has soared, with an indicator of “sensitive” items such as food and other essentials last week rising to 45 per cent year on year.

Rehman predicted that authorities may be forced to divert development grants and potentially budget funding to manage the fallout.

“We’ll have trouble with our import bills and foreign exchange reserves will be impacted because we’ll be importing food now, in a much larger [way],” she said. “Once our trade balance is impacted, the rupee will be further weakened. We’re facing a very tough time ahead.”

The government is preparing a UN appeal for humanitarian aid to support affected areas and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met foreign diplomats on Friday to push for more international aid. “The ongoing rain spell has caused devastation across the country,” he said.

Investors had feared that Pakistan could follow Sri Lanka in defaulting, though the prospect of upcoming assistance from the IMF — part of a $7bn package launched in 2019 — has largely eased those concerns. China recently lent more than $2bn to Islamabad, while Saudi Arabia has agreed to renew a $3bn deposit at Pakistan’s central bank. Pakistani authorities anticipate more aid from countries including Qatar.

The flooding has piled further pressure on Sharif’s government as it faces a sustained political challenge from former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted this year in a no-confidence vote. Khan popularity has surged since, as he has pressed for elections, but is on bail after being charged last week with terrorism offences over a controversial speech.


But Rehman argued that no country could handle such extreme flooding. “If Islamabad were to get 700 per cent extra rain, Islamabad would pack up — as would New York,” she said. “It’s sexy to say it’s a development failure . . . But I’m not sure that’s all there is to the story. It’s just too much water.”


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's deadly floods have created a massive 100km-wide inland lake, satellite images show


https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/31/asia/pakistan-floods-forms-inland-lake-satellite-intl-hnk/index.html

Striking new satellite images that reveal the extent of Pakistan's record flooding show how an overflowing Indus River has turned part of Sindh Province into a 100 kilometer-wide inland lake.

Swaths of the country are now underwater, after what United Nation officials have described as a "monsoon on steroids" brought the heaviest rainfall in living memory and flooding that has killed 1,162 people, injured 3,554 and affected 33 million since mid-June.
The new images, taken on August 28 from NASA's MODIS satellite sensor, show how a combination of heavy rain and an overflowing Indus River have inundated much of Sindh province in the South.

Move the slider to the left to reveal the flood waters (shown in blue) cover large portions of Pakistan's normally arid, brown landscape in this satellite image captured on Sunday, August 28th. Move the slider back to the right to the same date last year. These images are known as 'false-color,' which combine infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land.
In the center of the picture, a large area of dark blue shows the Indus overflowing and flooding an area around 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide, turning what were once agricultural fields into a giant inland lake.

It's a shocking transformation from the photo taken by the same satellite on the same date last year, which shows the river and its tributaries contained in what appear by comparison to be small, narrow bands, highlighting the extent of the damage in one of the country's hardest-hit areas.
This year's monsoon is already the country's wettest since records began in 1961, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, and the season still has one month to go.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Could Have Averted Its Climate Catastrophe
Analysis by David Fickling | Bloomberg

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/pakistan-could-have-averted-its-climate-catastrophe/2022/08/30/4c2d3d92-28b8-11ed-a90a-fce4015dfc8f_story.html

If you’re looking for an emblem of why Pakistan will struggle to recover from the floods that have killed more than 1,000 since June, consider its latest bailout from the International Monetary Fund agreed Monday.

The infusion of $1.16 billion might help unlock enough cash to get the country through the next couple of years — but the floods themselves have caused more than $10 billion of damage, much of which will end up boosting the country’s $255 billion in debt.

For as long as we’ve raised crops from the rich soils laid down in river valleys, floods have challenged humanity. That’s one reason that deluge myths are almost universal. The solutions haven’t changed much, either. An implausibly massive piece of capital investment saves humanity in Genesis and the Quran, in the form of Noah’s ark.

Modern governments take the same approach. The 1928 Flood Control Act, introduced to tame the Mississippi after the previous year’s devastating inundation, was at the time the largest public works project the US government had ever authorized, costing more than the Panama Canal. Flood management forms one of the biggest parts of China’s budget, with the 1 trillion yuan ($144 billion) invested in these projects in 2017 (the last time data was published), amounting to a larger sum than was spent on health care or railway construction.

As the largest irrigation system in the world, the Indus valley is another monument to massive investment whose roots date back more than 4,000 years. Like Pakistan whose backbone it forms, however, the Indus and its tributaries have been starved of the investment they need to effectively manage the risks of natural disaster.

Some of the most important lines of defense against floods are colonial-era projects such as the vast Sukkur Barrage — a system of dams and canals that divert the waters of the Indus’s to irrigate the arid southern Sindh Province. Many are in a poor state of repair, thanks to years of underinvestment in maintenance; corruption; and disputes between Pakistan’s four provinces about the allocation of water and funds.

The Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs on either side of Islamabad have become so choked with silt sweeping down from the Himalayas that they’re losing their ability to swallow up floodwaters and prevent inundation further downstream. Just 57% of Tarbela’s storage capacity is now available, and increased silting may clog it altogether, a government committee was told earlier this month.

The underinvestment that has led to this state of affairs is chronic. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan — a sign of a country that’s unable to build the infrastructure it needs to support a growing population. With the costs of climate impacts rising, more and more money is going to be spent not on the long-term investments needed to protect the country against future natural disasters, but simply on the clean up and compensating for the loss of productivity following catastrophes.

A changing climate will make the problems Pakistan is experiencing now even worse. Warmer air is able to hold more moisture, making extreme monsoon rainfall a more frequent occurrence. It also causes mountain ice to melt faster — a significant issue in Pakistan, home to more glaciers than any country outside the polar regions. Flash flooding from the overflow of glacial lakes can be devastating, particularly in mountainous regions of the country close to the Afghan, Indian and Chinese borders.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Could Have Averted Its Climate Catastrophe
Analysis by David Fickling | Bloomberg

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/pakistan-could-have-averted-its-climate-catastrophe/2022/08/30/4c2d3d92-28b8-11ed-a90a-fce4015dfc8f_story.html


The global pool of financing available to deal with climate change isn’t up to the challenge, and more than three-quarters of the total is still going to mitigation — investment in transitional technologies to prevent future emissions. That spending is important, but unlikely to be as useful to a nation like Pakistan, whose emissions are minimal. Its far greater need is for funds to adapt to the changes that are already happening.

Sufficient expenditure could solve many of these problems at a stroke — but Pakistan is struggling to run up a descending escalator, with energy import dependence, weak agricultural productivity, and lack of external investment contributing to a vicious cycle of underdevelopment. Even when cash has been made available for nation-building infrastructure (the country was one of the biggest recipients of Chinese funding for Belt and Road projects, much of it spent on hydropower and water management), Pakistan’s exposure to economic shocks has left it ill-placed to pay its way.

Rich countries are reluctant enough to invest in Pakistan’s energy transition, which at least offers the prospect of returns, however meager and uncertain. They’re still less likely to donate the grant funds necessary to insulate one of the world’s poorest countries against the impact of rising global temperatures. Cash can’t prevent a flood, but it can prevent natural disasters capsizing an economy. Pakistan badly needs that support.

Riaz Haq said...

Devastating Floods in Pakistan (NASA Earth Observatory)

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/150279/devastating-floods-in-pakistan

Since mid-June 2022, Pakistan has been drenched by extreme monsoon rains that have led to the country’s worst flooding in a decade. According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have affected more than 33 million people and destroyed or damaged more than 1 million houses. At least 1,100 people were killed by floodwaters that inundated tens of thousands of square kilometers of the country.

The false-color images above were acquired by the Operational Land Imagers aboard the Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites on August 4 and 28, respectively. The images combine shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red light (bands 6-5-4) to better distinguish flood waters (deep blue) beyond their natural channels.

The worst flooding occurred along the Indus River in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh. The provinces of Balochistan and Sindh have so far this year received five to six times their 30-year average rainfall. Most of that arrived in summer monsoon rains.

Across the country, about 150 bridges and 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of roads have been destroyed, according to ReliefWeb. More than 700,000 livestock and 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been lost.

The image above, acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on August 31, 2022, shows the extent of flooding in the region. The image uses a combination of near-infrared and visible light to make it easier to see where rivers are out of their banks and spread across floodplains.

The immense volume of rain- and meltwater inundated the dams, reservoirs, canals, and channels of the country’s large and highly developed irrigation system. On August 31, the Indus River System Authority authorized some releases from dams because the water flowing in threatened to exceed the capacity of several reservoirs.

In the southern reaches of the Indus watershed, the deluge has turned plains into seas. These detailed images show the districts of Qambar and Shikarpur in Sindh province, which from July 1 to August 31 received 500 percent more rainfall than average.

The effect of the monsoon rains has been compounded by the continued melting of Pakistan’s 7,000 glaciers. The country holds the most glacial ice found outside the polar regions. Climate warming and recent heat waves have precipitated several glacial-outburst floods. In the rugged northern part of the country, the combined rain and meltwater has turned slopes into hill torrents.

On August 30, the Pakistani government declared a national emergency and, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for international aid for humanitarian relief efforts.

Pakistan last faced such dramatic and widespread flooding in 2010.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). Story by Sara E. Pratt.

Riaz Haq said...

Why are Pakistan’s floods so bad this year?
Climate change is making South Asia’s monsoons increasingly erratic

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2022/08/31/why-are-pakistans-floods-so-bad-this-year

Even before this summer’s rains began, Pakistanis living along the country’s rivers were witness to the immense power of climate change. Meltwater from the Himalayas had swollen them by May, a month before the highest temperatures of the year were expected. Summers are getting hotter across the Indian subcontinent and, in turn, the monsoon rains that break the heat are becoming increasingly unpredictable: early or late, deficient or superabundant. This year’s devastating cloudbursts are a terrible case in point (see chart).

By the end of August Pakistan had received three times its annual average rainfall. The swollen Indus river and its many tributaries have therefore burst their banks, washing away buildings and destroying harvests and the livelihoods of millions in a country where 65% of the population is sustained directly by agriculture. A third of the country is estimated to have been submerged. And the country’s government, distracted by protracted political and economic crises, has proved to be woefully unprepared for this inundation. Over 1,100 people have perished in the floods, including hundreds of children. The government estimates that the disaster has so far caused over $10bn-worth of damage. And worse will follow as the rains keep falling and food shortages and flood-related epidemics set in.

Much of the northern hemisphere has been struggling with drought this summer. America, China and most of Europe are therefore seeing crop failures, dwindling waterways and electricity shortages (in part due to diminished availability of hydro-power and high demand for air-conditioning). Most of South Asia (including Pakistan) is meanwhile receiving unusually heavy rainfall.

In the long-term, South Asia should expect more extreme rainfall as a result of climate change. In a study published in 2021, a German research team estimated that for every degree Celsius of global warming the Indian subcontinent can expect an additional 5.3% of precipitation during the monsoon. This is because, as the atmosphere’s temperature rises, so does its capacity to bear moisture.

This year’s devastation is spread unevenly across Pakistan’s varied geography. Two relatively arid southern provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, received 336% and 446% more rain than they would during a normal July. Downriver from the glacial melt, they were especially unprepared to absorb it. Himalayan regions, such as Pakistan-administered Kashmir, have meanwhile had average or reduced rainfall.

In an appeal for foreign aid this week, Pakistan’s finance minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, noted how inequitably the costs of climate change are being experienced around the world. Pakistan emits less than 1% of the greenhouse-gas emissions responsible for global warming, Yet, he said, Pakistanis are “paying the price in their lives”.

Riaz Haq said...

How to help #Flood Victims in #Pakistan? Donate generously to Islamic Relief, Edhi Foundation, UNICEF, Alkhidmat, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Save the Children and other #NGOs working on the ground. #FloodsInPakistan https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/01/pakistan-help-donate-flooding/

Extreme flooding has decimated communities in Pakistan and killed more than 1,000 people, many of them children. Millions more have been displaced, their homes destroyed. Crops have been ravaged, heightening concerns of malnutrition.

Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for the latest updates on Russia's war in Ukraine.
As the crisis continues to unfold, officials have called on the international community for aid, estimating it may cost billions of dollars to recover from the damage.

Here are some organizations you can donate to:

Islamic Relief
Return to menu
Islamic Relief has been operating in Pakistan since 1992. The organization is focused on providing food aid, access to clean water and other humanitarian supplies. Donate here.

UNICEF
Return to menu
The United Nations Children’s Fund is working to provide health services, water and hygiene kits to affected families. The agency is also setting up temporary education centers. Donate here.

International Medical Corps
Return to menu
The International Medical Corps has been operating in the country since 1985. The organization is focused on providing medical care and supplies, mental health support, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services. Donate here.

Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan
Return to menu
This nonprofit launched an Emergency Flood Appeal calling for donations. The organization has been providing food and shelter to those affected since July. Donate here.

International Rescue Committee
Return to menu
The IRC has operated in Pakistan since 1980. The organization has “reached almost 20,000 people with critical food, supplies and medical support,” Shabnam Baloch, IRC’s Pakistan director, said in a statement. “We are urgently requesting donors to step up their support and help us save lives.” Donate here.

Mercy Corps
Return to menu
Mercy Corps is working in the hard-hit province of Baluchistan, providing food, water and funds to those affected. Donate here.

Save the Children
Return to menu
Save the Children has been working in Pakistan since 1979. The organization is providing shelter, schooling, food and cookware to affected areas. Donate here.

Riaz Haq said...


Michael Kugelman
@MichaelKugelman
Some of the countries that have pledged (and in some cases already delivered) flood relief aid to Pakistan:

Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Canada
China
Denmark
France
Iran
Kazakhstan
Norway
Qatar
Singapore
Turkey
UAE
UK
US

Also reports that some G20 countries will provide debt relief.

https://twitter.com/MichaelKugelman/status/1565533667417591808?s=20&t=KfLSxKzQGeBjG-T9HkgT9A

Riaz Haq said...

#US will provide $30 million for relief effort in #PakistanFloods2022 which 'affected an estimated 33 million people," destroyed or damaged one million homes, and has led to the loss of "nearly 735,000 livestock -- a major source of livelihoods and food."https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/02/politics/usaid-dart-pakistan/index.html

According to the agency, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, will "lead the US government's response efforts in Pakistan," where at least 1,100 have been killed and at least 4,800 have been injured in floods across the country since June 14.

A USAID spokesperson told CNN Friday that there are currently "four members of the DART on the ground in Pakistan working to assess the situation and determine how the United States can work with the Government of Pakistan to provide additional resources."
More members of the team are on their way, and "the DART will remain active on the ground until USAID can determine that needs have been met," the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, The Department of Defense "is sending an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support DoD can provide to USAID as part of the United States' assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan." They said the aid "remains in close coordination with DoD to determine any necessary support for our response."
"In addition to mobilizing the DART, U.S. government staff based in the region and Washington, D.C., are monitoring the situation closely, including any potential impacts the flooding may have in the broader region," the agency said in a press release Friday.
Earlier this week, USAID announced that the US will provide $30 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the flooding, which it said "has affected an estimated 33 million people," destroyed or damaged one million homes, and has led to the loss of "nearly 735,000 livestock -- a major source of livelihoods and food."
"With these funds, USAID partners will prioritize urgently needed support for food, nutrition, multi-purpose cash, safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and shelter assistance," the press release from the agency said.


Riaz Haq said...

What Is Owed to Pakistan, Now One-Third Underwater by Fatima Bhutto

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/03/opinion/environment/floods-in-pakistan-climate-change.html

One in seven Pakistanis have been affected, with many sleeping under open skies, without shelter. About 900,000 livestock have been lost, and more than two million acres of farmland and 90 percent of crops have been damaged. In some provinces, cotton and rice crops, date trees and sugar cane have been nearly obliterated, and half of the onion, chili and tomato crops, all staple foods, are gone. Over 1,350 people are dead, and some 33 million people (50 million according to unofficial tallies) have been displaced.

-------

The worst hit province of Sindh, in the south, suffers in extremis. Sindh does not appear to have any disaster preparedness, or any plans in place to reinforce water infrastructure or the barely functioning sewage system.

The survivors, the majority of whom are poor, must now avoid hunger and disease lurking in the rising, fetid flood water. More rain is predicted. Much of Sindh is close to sea level, which means that the floodwaters from the north will continue rushing downstream.

Ahsan Iqbal, the minister of planning and development, has called Pakistan a victim of climate change caused by the “irresponsible development of the developed world.” Pakistan is about 2.6 percent of the world’s population and contributes less than 1 percent of global carbon emissions, and yet it has paid a monumental price. As a point of context, the United States is only about 4 percent of the world’s population, and yet is responsible for about 13 percent of global carbon emissions.

In 2019, Philip Alston, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights at the time, warned that global heating would undermine basic rights to water, food and housing. We faced a future, Mr. Alston said, where the wealthy will pay to avoid these deprivations while the rest of the world suffers.

The Global North can help the poor of the Global South by taking responsibility for the losses and damages of extreme weather fueled in part by the burning of fossil fuels. The impacts of decades of fossil fuel burning are already too severe, and apply too unevenly to the poor, for the Global North to deny culpability.

In 2010, a year that we were also deluged, Pakistan’s Meteorological Department recorded nationwide rains 70 to 102 percent above normal levels. Locally, the numbers were more terrifying — in Khanpur, a city in Punjab, it was 1,483 percent above normal. The rivers swelled and the Indus and its tributaries soon burst their banks. A dam failure created floodwater lakes. USAID estimated that 1.7 million homes were damaged and more than 20 million people were affected. The economic losses were around $11 billion, and a fifth of the country had been affected.

Today’s superflood may well prove to be worse — at one point in Sindh Province, rainfall was 508 percent above average.

The International Monetary Fund has released $1.17 billion in funds to Pakistan that had previously been allocated for a government bailout in 2019. The secretary general of the U.N. has also asked member states to give $160 million. But I.M.F. money comes with painful strings attached for countries like Pakistan, and it will not be enough to rebuild, nor to prevent future disasters. This is climate change. It is relentless and furious, and this is not the worst we have seen of it.

The lack of attention on Pakistan is heartbreaking: Too few major international cultural figures are speaking up for us in this moment of crisis. It is either a snide form of racism — that terrible things happen to places like Pakistan — or else an utter failure of compassion. But Pakistan has long been a cipher, a warning for the world, just like those old stories. And so the wealthy world would do well to pay attention. The horrors that Pakistan is struggling with today could soon come for everyone.

Riaz Haq said...

The devastating floods in Pakistan are a "wake-up call" to the world on the threats of climate change, experts have said.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62758811

The record-breaking rain would devastate any country, not just poorer nations, one climate scientist has told BBC News.

The human impacts are clear - another 2,000 people were rescued from floodwaters on Friday, while ministers warn of food shortages after almost half the country's crops were washed away.

A sense of injustice is keenly felt in the country. Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse gases that warm our planet but its geography makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change.

"Literally, one-third of Pakistan is underwater right now, which has exceeded every boundary, every norm we've seen in the past," Climate minister Sherry Rehman said this week.

Pakistan is located at a place on the globe which bears the brunt of two major weather systems. One can cause high temperatures and drought, like the heatwave in March, and the other brings monsoon rains.

The majority of Pakistan's population live along the Indus river, which swells and can flood during monsoon rains.

The science linking climate change and more intense monsoons is quite simple. Global warming is making air and sea temperatures rise, leading to more evaporation. Warmer air can hold more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense.

Scientists predict that the average rainfall in the Indian summer monsoon season will increase due to climate change, explains Anja Katzenberger at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

But Pakistan has something else making it susceptible to climate change effects - its immense glaciers.

The northern region is sometimes referred to as the 'third pole' - it contains more glacial ice than anywhere in the world outside of the polar regions.

As the world warms, glacial ice is melting. Glaciers in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions are melting rapidly, creating more than 3,000 lakes, the the UN Development Programme told BBC News. Around 33 of these are at risk of sudden bursting, which could unleash millions of cubic meters of water and debris, putting 7 million people at risk.

Pakistan's government and the UN are attempting to reduce the risks of these sudden outburst floods by installing early-warning systems and protective infrastructure.

In the past poorer countries with weaker flood defences or lower-quality housing have been less able to cope with extreme rainfall.

But climate impact scientist Fahad Saeed told BBC News that even a rich nation would be overwhelmed by the catastrophic flooding this summer.

"This is a different type of animal - the scale of the floods is so high and the rain is so extreme, that even very robust defences would struggle," Dr Saeed explains from Islamabad, Pakistan.

He points to the flooding in Germany and Belgium that killed dozens of people in 2021.

Pakistan received nearly 190% more rain than its 30-year average from June to August - reaching a total of 390.7mm.

He says that Pakistan's meteorological service did a "reasonable" job in warning people in advance about flooding. And the country does have some flood defences but they could be improved, he says.

People with the smallest carbon footprints are suffering the most, Dr Saeed says.

"The victims are living in mud homes with hardly any resources - they have contributed virtually nothing to climate change," he says.

The flooding has affected areas that don't normally see this type of rain, including southern regions Sindh and Balochistan that are normally arid or semi-arid.

Riaz Haq said...

‘Very Dire’: Devastated by Floods, Pakistan Faces Looming Food Crisis
The flooding has crippled Pakistan’s agricultural sector, battering the country as it reels from an economic crisis and double-digit inflation that has sent the price of basics soaring.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/11/world/asia/pakistan-floods-food-crisis.html

Violent swells have swept away roads, homes, schools and hospitals across much of Pakistan. Millions of people have been driven from their homes, struggling through waist-deep, fetid water to reach islands of safety. Nearly all of the country’s crops along with thousands of livestock and stores of wheat and fertilizer have been damaged — prompting warnings of a looming food crisis.

Since a deluge of monsoon rains lashed Pakistan last week, piling more water on top of more than two months of record flooding that has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of millions, the Pakistani government and international relief organizations have scrambled to save people and vital infrastructure in what officials have called a climate disaster of epic proportions.

Floodwater now covers around a third of the country, including its agricultural belt, with more rain predicted in the coming weeks. The damage from the flood will likely be “far greater” than initial estimates of around $10 billion, according to the country’s planning minister, Ahsan Iqbal.

The flooding has crippled a country that was already reeling from an economic crisis and double digit-inflation that has sent the price of basic goods soaring. Now the flooding threatens to set Pakistan back years or even decades, officials warned, and to fan the flames of political tensions that have engulfed the country since former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted last spring.

The damage to the country’s agricultural sector could also be felt across the globe, experts warn. Pakistan is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of cotton and rice — crops that have been devastated by the flood. As much as half of the country’s cotton crop has been destroyed, officials said, a blow to global cotton production in a year when cotton prices have soared as other major producers from the United States to China have been hit with extreme weather.

The floodwaters also threaten to derail Pakistan’s wheat planting season this fall, raising the possibility of continued food shortfalls and price spikes through next year. It is an alarming prospect in a country that depends on its wheat production to feed itself at a time when global wheat supplies are precarious.


“We’re in a very dire situation,” said Rathi Palakrishnan, deputy country director of the World Food Program in Pakistan. “There’s no buffer stocks of wheat, there’s no seeds because farmers have lost them.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government, along with the United Nations, has appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to reach 5.2 million of the country’s most vulnerable people.

The scale of the devastation in Pakistan stands out even in a year punctuated by extreme weather, including heat waves across Europe and the United States, intense rain that has drenched parts of Asia and the worst drought to hit East Africa in decades.

Since the start of the monsoon season in Pakistan this summer, more than 1,300 people have died in floods — nearly half of whom are children — and more than 6,000 have been injured, according to the United Nations. Around 33 million people have been displaced. Floodwater now covers around 100,000 square miles — an area larger than the size of Britain — with more floods expected in the coming weeks.

Sindh Province, which produces around a third of the country’s food supply, has been among the hardest hit by the rains. The province received nearly six times its 30-year average rainfall this monsoon season, which has damaged around 50 percent of the province’s crops, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Riaz Haq said...

PAKISTAN FLOODS

Submerged Cities (Mehar, Qambar, Larkana, Sukkur, Khairpur Nathanshah, Sehwan,
Satellite images show unprecedented floods have left parts of Pakistan underwater.

https://graphics.reuters.com/PAKISTAN-WEATHER/FLOODS/zgvomodervd/
----------

Floods from record monsoon rains in Pakistan and glacial melt in the country’s mountainous north have affected 33 million people and killed over 1,500, washing away homes, roads, railways, bridges, livestock and crops in damage estimated at $30 billion.

Both the government and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have blamed climate change for the extreme weather that led to the flooding and submerged huge areas of the nation of 220 million.

Large swathes of the country are inundated, and hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes while some villages have become islands.

Images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite, analysed by Reuters, show the extent of flooding around towns and cities in Sindh province, one of the country’s worst affected areas.

There are at least three points in Dadu district in the province of Sindh where the Indus Highway is submerged, with traffic suspended for weeks, while Pakistan's other highway connecting the north and south has also been badly hit by the flood waters.

The cities of Qambar and Larkana sit around 25 km apart and are just west of the Indus River. Both have been heavily impacted by flood water.

Images show farm fields that resemble massive lakes of several miles in diameter and landscapes which are usually a spectrum of brown, yellow and green, now submerged by water.

Reuters’ drone footage over Sindh showed agricultural and residential areas completely submerged in water, with just the tops of trees and buildings visible.

Urban centres like Larkana and Sukkur, while not completely unscathed, faced comparatively lesser damage from the flooding. The airport remains operational and is receiving flights that are carrying relief supplies that have been arriving from China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates carrying tents, food and medicine. People from nearby villages are also queuing up to get treated at hospitals in the city.

U.N. agencies have begun work to assess the South Asian nation's reconstruction needs after it received 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain, or nearly 190% more than the 30-year average, in July and August. Sindh received 466% more rain than average.

The map below shows the extent of flooding through the province. Many of the towns and villages have been submerged or surrounded by flood waters.

Over the last few weeks, authorities have thrown up barriers to keep the flood waters out of key structures such as power stations as well as homes, while farmers who stayed to try and save their cattle faced a new threat as fodder began to run out.


Data from Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, shows how rapidly the disaster unfolded as more people died towards the end of August and the numbers continue to pile up. In Sindh, the country’s hardest hit region, accounts for little over 40 percent of the deaths.

As of Sept 18 the floods have partially or permanently damaged over 1.9 million houses, destroyed 12,718 km (7,902 miles) of roads, nearly a million livestock, and swamped millions of acres of farmland since the start of the monsoon.


Data shows how damage and destruction escalated during August when rains were heaviest. More than half a million homes have been completely destroyed. The majority of the damaged infrastructure is in Sindh.

The city of Khairpur Nathan Shah in Sindh, which is about 25 km (15.5 miles) west of the Indus River is completely surrounded by flood water. The roofs of the homes resemble an archipelago in place of a city.

The crisis is far from over as rescue operations have been unable to get to all the affected areas. Of the 33 million people affected, about half a million have been moved to camps with about 180,000 rescued. More than half of the country’s 160 districts continue to be affected by the floods.