Saturday, September 3, 2022

Climate Change: Pakistan Requires Massive Assistance to Recover From Catastrophic Floods

Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of the worst floods in the country's history.  Over a thousand Pakistanis are dead. About 33 million people in two southern provinces are homeless. Sindh is inundated with 784% of normal rainfall so far this year. Balochistan has seen 522% of average rainfall. Both provinces suffered their worst ever heatwave prior to this unprecedented deluge. Nearly a million livestock have been lost, over two million acres of farmland is underwater and 90% of the crops in Sindh and Balochistan have been damaged. This is a massive humanitarian crisis. Pakistan can not deal with it alone.

Pakistan Flood 2022 Map. Source: DW

Satellite Image of Qambar, Sindh Before/After Floods 2022. Source: NASA

Satellite Image of Shikarpur, Sindh Before/After Floods 2022. Source: NASA




Balochistan and Sindh Worst Affected by Monsoon22. Source: The Economist

Pakistan's population is about 2.6% of the world population. The nation contributes less than 1% of the global carbon emissions. It lacks the resources needed to deal with the consequences of this man-made disaster. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States was fueled mainly by fossil fuels such as coal and oil believed to be responsible for climate change.  The following map from Professor Jason Hickel shows that the countries in the global north are the biggest polluters while those in the global south are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

Climate Injustice: Low Emitters Global South vs Big Polluters in Industrial North. Source: Prof J. Hickel
Average Annual Cost of Floods in Vulnerable Countries. Source: Bloomberg


Comparison of 2022 and 2010 Floods in Pakistan. Source: WWF

It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to provide immediate relief to 33 million people, followed by tens of billions of dollars in assistance to rebuild the lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure destroyed by this catastrophe. Pakistan's gross capital formation is only 15% of its GDP. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan, according to Bloomberg. It is time for the rich industrialized world to help developing nations such as Pakistan to deal with the massive impact of climate change. 

Low Gross Capital Formation in Pakistan. Source: Bloomberg 


All Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis need to pitch in with donations to help finance immediate disaster relief activities. Beyond that, Pakistan will have to be helped by international experts to build disaster preparedness capacity. The new housing and infrastructure will have to be funded and built to ensure its resilience in future climate disasters which are likely to occur more often with greater intensity. There is an urgent  need to prepare western and multilateral financial institutions to deal with such climate catastrophes in developing nations. Mechanisms also need to be put in place to provide and manage funding of these projects in a transparent manner. 

49 comments:

IK said...

why we did not use floods to increase our underground water level ? after all we have water shortage underground cant we make some projects to pump this water underground ? it seems this water is enough for our need of drinking water next 10 years .

Riaz Haq said...

IK: "why we did not use floods to increase our underground water level ?"

A significant amount of the flood water is being absorbed into the ground and the underground aquifers are being charged. Groundwater is visible in the NASA satellite images below:

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEi6mlp8lNa0IMHVBB9cJb3a9ZzU80suygi3awVcT8q934kr_jOMwjPmA9CDxEgIs0Pbkz_UxClGAZHPXdwHDAPWKovi1W5MvLDk0J67rq3QivLYUxmaDQVa32Ulkm90QozjCNDYUr5U2X0iaqGlqb14vnoXKVWwX58DD-IflAJ3k3bKjpdWHkgmGZufyQ/s3300/NASA%20Groundwater%20Map%20August%202022.PNG

Rashid A. said...

Riaz Sahib

Pakistani elites themselves have to decide, to make flood control a priority.

Floods are nothing new. Yet, what does Pakistan has to show for flood control measures.

Flood Control planning is just on paper. Nothing more. NDMA is utterly useless. It did nothing during extreme snow fall in Murree last winter. It did not do much during these floods.

What happened to the money that was donated after Super Floods of 2010?
Pakistani rulers, opposition and elites are busy in Games of Thrones while the poor are drowning.

Begging the world is not a plan.

Given the magnitude of flood, any flood control arrangements would have been ineffective, but yet not having any rudimentary flood control system is tragic.

NESPAK prepared a comprehensive plan for flood control sometime back but it was never implemented.

World will help, if Pakistan is serious.

Shams N. said...

I have personally seen the floods in 1959 when Teen Hatti Lyari bridge submerged under the flood waters. The floods of 1973, 1983, 1992, 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2019 - were no less damaging.

Heavy rains are not solely the events with Sindh & Balochistan causing damage. La Nina is a process that nearly all tropical areas on this planet sees. The 2022 months before the monsoon were very hot, and when that happens, rain comes. According to a New York Times report that relied on Columbia Climate School research, the year 2010 floods had far more losses of: human fatalities (180% in 2010 compared with 2022), people displaced (200% in 2010), homes destroyed (600%), and financial damage (30% more in 2010).

Majumdar said...

This charging of aquifers will certainly help agri production going forward. However, a point to be noted is that farmers, especially small farmers have had their capital wiped out in this tragedy. Someone will have to fund the working capital needs- seeds, fertiliser etc for coming crops. Pak govt and the civil society and the world at large must come forward.

Rashid A. said...

Plz see the following article.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1708344

Riaz Haq said...

Rashid A: "Plz see the following article"


I agree that the Pakistani leadership is not blameless but I also think the root cause of these disasters is climate change which has been brought about the rich industrialized West.

I’m arguing that the US and Europe need to step up to help the global south cope with the consequences of their actions.

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1566471134672850945?s=21&t=iaRzPZR5mPaXQ8qMRtsPew

Riaz Haq said...

Riaz Sahib

Point well taken.

I studied the two maps.

There is no debate that developed nations are the main source of pollution and emissions.


Map of ND -GAIN
Multidimensional Climate Vulnerability Index.

It is based on two things:
Readiness Index
Vulnerability Index.

Readiness Index considers 3 factors:
Economic
Governance
Social

Vulnerability Index considers the following:

Exposure
Sensitivity
Adaptive Capacity

Out of all of these only the Exposure is dependent upon emissions, pollution etc.

All of the rest are society’s own strengths or weaknesses. They are not caused by Developed or Polluting nations (unless one subscribes to Conspiracy theory.).

While those who pollute should take responsibility, it is an uphill task.

In the mean time what measures does Pakistan have in place for disasters that occur WITHOUT Climate change considerations?

Pakistan’s argument would ring more solid if it were to show how much progress the country has made but still the floods were beyond a credible magnitude. So the world should help.

Same lack of interest is evident in Earthquake Emergency preparedness.

Earthquakes are not triggered by climate change.

Please see:
https://gain.nd.edu/our-work/country-index/methodology/


In any case, it is what it is.

Regards,

Rashid Ahmad

Riaz Haq said...

Rashid: "Earthquakes are not triggered by climate change.....They are not caused by Developed or Polluting nations (unless one subscribes to Conspiracy theory.)"


Climate change is a unique global challenge that far exceeds the capacity of most countries of the world, particularly developing countries like Pakistan. 

Unlike earthquakes, climate change is a man-made disaster. 

It requires a concerted international response led by the rich industrialized West that is largely responsible for creating it. 

Riaz Haq said...

Mehdi Hasan
@mehdirhasan
"Cancel Pakistan's debt... We have so much debt towards the people that are responsible for [exacerbating the floods]... so we need to clear that, otherwise people will starve.”

@BhuttoZulfikar
to me on, the responsibility for climate change, on
@MSNBC
:

https://twitter.com/mehdirhasan/status/1566630478911774721?s=20&t=Cx2gHLz30PVFMD-yv37RRw

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.

Terry A. said...

Current Coal Consumption in the World by Country is as Follows ( in MMCF = Millions of Cubic Feet )

1) China. = 4300 Trillion MMCF
2) India. = 966
3) USA. = 731
4) Germany = 257
5) Russia = 230
6) Japan = 210
7) South Africa = 202
8) South Korea = 157
9) Poland. = 149
10 ) Australia = 130

China is by far the Biggest Producer of CO2 emissions into the Atmosphere TODAY ( 10 Billion Tons ) & causes 32 % of Global Pollution…….Keeps going Up not down since the CCP will continue to use whatever the cheapest from of Energy is

The USA which has considerably cut its Coal usage over the past 7 Years causes around 10 -12 % of Global Pollution TODAY

India & Russia combined TODAY cause between 14 -17 % of Global Pollution in CO2 Emissions……..Consumption in both these Countries Keeps going up not down mainly due to Poverty & Poor People

Also the USA has enough Coal Reserves in the Ground to Last for the next 300 Years……. ?

Riaz Haq said...

Terry: "Current Coal Consumption in the World by Country is as Follows ( in MMCF = Millions of Cubic Feet )"

Coal is not the only source of carbon emissions; other fossil fuels like oil and gas also produce huge carbon emissions from power generations, factories and vehicles. Agriculture, livestock and food production are major contributors as well.

It's true that China, India and Russia are among the biggest emitters TODAY but their cumulative emissions since 1751 are minuscule compared to those of Americans and Europeans.

Riaz Haq said...

Rich nations should pay for the #climate disaster in #Pakistan. But these poorer countries shouldn't count on it because most of the Global North is in denial about its oversized role in creating this crisis. #FloodsinPakistan #climatechange #cabonemission

Opinion by Paul Hockenos

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/07/opinions/pakistan-flooding-climate-crisis-pay-liability-us-hockenos/index.html


August will be one to remember for all the worst reasons. From epic flooding in Pakistan and along the Mississippi, to drought in China and out-of-control fires in Europe, the climate crisis is wreaking havoc on planet Earth on a new scale.


Yet, these disasters and their fallout are not evenly distributed. The Global South -- low or middle income countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean -- is suffering disproportionately, as climate scientists say it will for years to come.
If indeed it is global warming that is causing or even simply aggravating these extreme weather events, as scientists generally concur, then the South's ever angrier nations are completely justified in their demands that the world's wealthier regions -- those ultimately responsible for this made-in-the-developed-world crisis -- pay for its losses. In particular, the historically largest emissions sinners -- the United States and Europe.

But these poorer countries shouldn't count on it because not only is most of the Global North in denial about its oversized role in creating the crisis -- it is dead set against condoning the principle of liability.
Pakistan is currently suffering this catastrophe -- let's call it "climate breakdown," since this is what scientists say is happening -- more acutely than anywhere else in the world. More than 1,300 people have lost their lives and 33 million others are affected in what Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif last week referred to as "the worst [monsoon season] in the country's history."

The grim images of washed away houses, stranded refugees, children and elderly people in rushing floodwaters vividly underscore the gross inequities of the crisis that is reverberating across the Global South. Indeed many of the 3.6 billion most vulnerable people shouldering the worst of climate breakdown live in the Global South.
According to the UN World Food Program, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe extreme weather resulting from rising temperatures is forcing millions of already poor people into hunger. The current figure of up to 828 million people going hungry every night around the world will soar if global heating is not checked, it says.
While the human cost is unquantifiable, the economic price tag isn't. In Pakistan, a third of the country is underwater. The torrential rainfall and flooding, now in its second month, has destroyed one million homes, about 2,200 miles of roads, and submerged a third of the country -- including more than two million acres (809,371 hectares) of farmland, robbing the residents there of their livelihoods. The damage thus far is estimated at more than $10 billion, or 4% of the country's annual gross domestic product, according to Pakistani officials.
Displaced people take refuge along a highway after fleeing from their flood-hit homes in Pakistan's Charsadda district on August 28.

Terry A. said...

Agree and what you have stated are True Facts -

The Question is what can be done now to force other Countries to significantly reduce all their
Pollution …….. since the United Nations has no power at all anymore ?

Riaz Haq said...

Terry: "The Question is what can be done now to force other Countries to significantly reduce all their
Pollution …….. since the United Nations has no power at all anymore ?"

The countries of the global south with their young and growing populations are a huge market opportunity for the rich nations. It’s in their own best interest to help these poor nations survive and thrive.

Riaz Haq said...


Samantha Power
@PowerUSAID
NEWS: The first US Military plane landed today in Sindh Province, much of which has been submerged in floodwater. Working hand in hand with Pakistan’s authorities and
@USAID
,
@DeptofDefense
is building an airbridge to provide life-saving shelter:

https://twitter.com/PowerUSAID/status/1567920699439816714?s=20&t=IOtzWUPmkwxSfBCymjbmOA

Riaz Haq said...

#UN Chief appeals for "massive assistance" to #Pakistan. “We are heading into a disaster. We have waged war on nature and nature is tracking back and striking back in a devastating way. Today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries.” #Floods https://apnews.com/article/floods-pakistan-united-nations-islamabad-antonio-guterres-2b9fe364b59b7f804d3b926c5cf82731

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that the world owes impoverished Pakistan “massive” help in recovering from devastating floods because other nations have contributed much more to climate change, which experts say may have helped trigger the deluge.

Months of monsoons and flooding have killed 1,391 people and affected 3.3 million in this South Asian nation while half a million people have become homeless. Planeloads of aid from the United States, the United Arab Emirates and other countries have begun arriving, but there’s more to be done, Guterres said.

Nature, the U.N. chief said in Islamabad, has attacked Pakistan, which contributes less than 1% of global emissions, according to multiple experts. Nations that “are more responsible for climate change ... should have faced this challenge,” Guterres said, seated next to Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

“We are heading into a disaster,” Guterres added. “We have waged war on nature and nature is tracking back and striking back in a devastating way. Today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries.”

The U.N. chief’s trip comes less than two weeks after Guterres appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to help those affected by the monsoon rains and floods that Pakistan says have caused at least $10 billion in damages. On Friday, the first planeload arrived from the U.S. , which Washington says is part of an upcoming $30 million in assistance.

“I appeal for massive support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe,” Guterres tweeted after landing in Pakistan earlier Friday.

He said other nations contributing to climate change are obligated to reduce emissions and help Pakistan. He assured Sharif that his voice was “entirely at the service of the Pakistani government and the Pakistani people” and that “the entire U.N. system is at the service of Pakistan.”

“Pakistan has not contributed in a meaningful way to climate change, the level of emissions in this country is relatively low,” Guterres said. “But Pakistan is one of the most dramatically impacted countries by climate change.”

Later, Guterres directed his words to the international community, saying that by some estimates, Pakistan needs about $30 billion to recover.

Riaz Haq said...

#UN Chief António Guterres appeals for "massive assistance" to #Pakistan amid“unprecedented” flood destruction. Losses stand at $30 billion and counting. There is no memory of such a large-scale calamity due to climate change, he said. #PakistanFloods2022 https://www.samaaenglish.tv/news/40016685/pakistan-pakistan-flood-losses-at-30-billion-and-counting-says-un-chief

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres Friday said that Pakistan had suffered “unprecedented” flood destruction and its losses stood at $30 billion and counting.

Guterres — who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan – held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad where he repeated his appeal for the international community’s “massive support” for Pakistan.

The UN secretary-general also said that the international community has an obligation to support Pakistan, especially the countries with higher greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif opened the press conference by thanking Guterres for his visit and his expression of solidarity and sympathy.

Sharif said that tens of millions of people were still stranded in Punjab, KP and Sindh provinces.

The UN secretary-general said that he was no stranger to Pakistan and had visited the country numerous times during the past 17 years.

Guterres said he not only visited Pakistan during its own crises but had also seen how Pakistanis helped Afghan refugees and shared their resources with them.

He said that the 2022 floods were an “unprecedented natural disaster.” There is no memory of such a large-scale calamity due to climate change, he said.

Families have lost their loved ones, crops, and jobs, he said.

Guterres appreciated “enormous efforts” from Pakistan’s civil administration, army, and people to help flood survivors.

He then made an appeal to the international community. “Pakistan needs massive financial support in this crisis that have costed, accroding to some estimates, around $30 billion and counting,” Guterres said.

The UN secretary-general said that Pakistan with its low level of emissions “never contributed meaningfully” to climate change and instead it was one of the “most dramatically impacted countries” by climate change.

It is essential that this is recognized by the international community especially countries that have contributed to climate change by mobilizing massive support, he said.

Shahbaz Sharif thanked the UN chief and said that every penny Pakistan gets will be spent with transparency.

Earlier, Guterres was given a joint briefing at the National Flood Response, Coordination Center by civil and military officials.

Addressing the briefing Guterres said that the international community has an obligation towards supporting Pakistan.

He said this on Friday while addressing a joint briefing at the National Flood Response, Coordination Center in Islamabad.

Seated alongside Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Guteress said that humanity had declared a war on nature and now nature was striking back.

“But nature is blind and it is not striking back on those contributing most to climate change,” he said adding that it was striking at those who had contributed the least.

“Nature has attacked the wrong part, it should be for those more responsible who should face.”

“There is an obligation of the international community to support Pakistan in these circumstances and there is an obligation of the international community to support countries worst affected,” he added.

The UN Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the people of Pakistan, noting that he had spent time in the country as a commissioner for refugees and human rights overseeing the Afghan refugees.

“I have always seen the enormous generosity of Pakistanis in hosting Afghan refugees and Pakistani generosity towards fellow Pakistanis in supporting disaster hit people during earthquake and floods,” he said, adding, “my solidarity with Pakistanis.”

Riaz Haq said...

New #satellite images reveal Lake #Manchar, #Pakistan's largest freshwater #lake, is overflowing dangerously. Images show breaches in the banks some of which have been made to prevent spilling into densely populated areas in #Sindh. #FloodsInPakistan2022 https://www.space.com/pakistan-flooding-largest-lake-overflowing-satellites

After weeks of extreme monsoon rains, Pakistan's largest freshwater lake started overflowing in early September, putting tens of thousands of people at risk of losing their homes, new satellite images reveal.

The images, captured by NASA's Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites, show breaches in the banks of Lake Manchar, some of which have been made intentionally by local authorities to prevent the overfilled lake from spilling into densely populated areas in the Indus River Valley.

The images show the pre-flood situation on July 25 and then detail the growing extent of the flooding on Aug. 28 and Sept. 5.

Some 100,000 people living in several hundred villages scattered across the valley are at risk of flooding due to the breaches, NASA officials wrote in a statement(opens in new tab). The floods, described as Pakistan's worst in at least a decade, have killed more than 1,300 people and injured thousands more. Over 1 million homes have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people are currently displaced.

Pakistan's Sindh province, where Lake Manchar is located, is one of the most severely affected by the flooding. The area has already received five times its average annual rainfall this year, NASA said in the statement. More rain is likely in the coming days, according to the U.K. weather forecaster Met Office.

The government of Pakistan declared a national emergency on Aug. 30, asking for international support to deliver food, drinking water and health supplies and assistance to the affected communities.

Riaz Haq said...

The #west is ignoring #Pakistan’s super-floods. Heed this warning: tomorrow it will be you. Those who don’t die from the #floods risk death by starvation – yet you’ve probably heard little about the devastation. #FloodsInPakistan2022
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/08/pakistan-floods-climate-crisis?CMP=share_btn_tw

Today, Pakistan, the world’s fifth-most-populous country, is fighting for its survival. This summer, erratic monsoon rains battered the country from north to south – Sindh, the southernmost province, received 464% more rain over the last few weeks than the 30-year average for the period.

At the same time, Pakistan’s glaciers are melting at a rate never seen before. These two consequences of the climate crisis have combined to create a monstrous super-flood that has ravaged the country.

Ninety per cent of crops in Sindh have been damaged; Faisal Edhi, who runs Pakistan’s largest social welfare organisation, the Edhi Foundation, has warned that those who don’t die from the floods risk death by starvation.

A famine is coming; the only question is how soon? Economic losses are estimated to be in excess of $30bn, 50 million people have been internally displaced, there is the threat of a malaria epidemic as floodwater lies stagnant – satellite images have shown the shocking formation of a 100km-wide inland lake in Sindh due to overflowing from the Indus River – and there is no doubt that a generation will be cast backwards as already meagre education and health services are violently disrupted. More than 400 children have died and with winter coming and millions left without shelter, many more will.

This is a tragedy of nightmarish proportions and yet if you live outside Pakistan, you probably haven’t heard much about it. Given its near total lack of interest in the fate of Pakistan, it would seem that the rest of the world hasn’t considered that this epic humanitarian crisis is a peek into the apocalyptic future that awaits us all.

No nation need have any special feelings towards Pakistan, but the horrors faced by the country today are a clear warning of the consequences of universal and rapacious climate breakdown. Human beings have destroyed our one and only planet; what is happening in Pakistan today is proof of that.

Our voracious burning of fossil fuels, obnoxious disregard for the wild and natural world we inherited, and criminal consumption means that no country, no matter its wealth, will be immune from the consequences of global heating. Today it is Pakistan, tomorrow it will be California, France, Australia, the world.

While it has been touching to see how ordinary people from far away countries have shown solidarity with Pakistan, donating what they can to flood relief efforts, the silence from major international figures and western media at large has been dispiriting, if not unsurprising. The week the flood hit, there were more newspaper column inches devoted to a Finnish prime minister who likes to party than to the fact that a third of Pakistan was submerged.

This is not a question of disaster fatigue. In Europe, the same countries that pushed Syrian refugees out in rubber dinghies to die at sea have free Airbnb housing and welcome booths for Ukrainians at their airports. And it’s not that Pakistan is too dangerous to visit or deal with. Only recently, Bernard Henri Levy, the French pop intellectual, was strutting around Odessa and President Zelensky publicly thanked Ben Stiller and Angelina Jolie, “who, despite the danger, have visited us”. (To be fair to Jolie, she did visit Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake.)

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...

The New York Times
@nytimes
Flooding has crippled Pakistan’s agricultural sector, battering the country as it reels from an economic crisis and inflation that has sent the price of basic goods soaring. Officials warn the flooding threatens to set Pakistan back years or even decades. https://nyti.ms/3qvsCE4

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1568999070571659269?s=20&t=YnIgUPmGWNRNOFxTpqKvCQ

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While large landowners will likely survive the floods, the damage has been devastating for the tens of thousands of smaller landowners and farmers that make up the backbone of Pakistan’s agriculture sector, Mr. Khaskheli added.

Land ownership remains an extremely feudal system in Pakistan, made up largely of vast estates cultivated by farmers who work as forced labor, primarily in the form of debt bondage.

Officials have warned that the damage and economic losses will be felt throughout the country for months and years to come. The loss of cotton to Pakistan’s textile industry, which contributes nearly 10 percent of the country’s G.D.P., could hamper any hopes for an economic recovery.

Riaz Haq said...

We are likely to see GDP growth slowing down further to around 2%, against the current IMF estimates of 3.5%. In this fast evolving scenario, our policy response must be calibrated towards the changing ground realities.

By Zafar Masud

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40197591

Reprioritise the FY2023 budget
The federal and provincial governments need to reprioritize the FY2023 Budget allocations, in particular the PSDP and ADP expenditures for relief and rehabilitation work in the flood affected districts. Additional expenditure requirements need to be agreed in consultation with the IMF. During the 2020 COVID pandemic, IMF agreed to a Rs 800bn Budget ‘adjustor’. In effect, the primary deficit targets were calculated excluding the COVID specific expenditure. The adjustor will give governments space to cater to emergency response and reconstruction activity.

Debt relief
Pakistan has benefitted from the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) framework in the aftermath of COVID pandemic. Pakistan is the largest beneficiary of this programme, with an estimated US$ 3.7bn of debt suspended or rescheduled under the DSSI since 2020.

Government needs to look into expanding this initiative beyond the 2 year timeline, targeting a 10-year suspension of these debt repayments. The UN 2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report recommends urgent action to reactive the DSSI for another two years and reschedule maturity for upto five years. A new global push led by UN and G20 countries will be the most effective way for Pakistan to deal with its short-term debt liabilities.

Rapid financing facility — IMF
The UN 2022 report also calls to expand access to Rapid Financing Instruments for all developing countries. Pakistan must also explore the option to access the IMF Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), similar to US$ 1.4bn facility utilized in 2020 as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Having said that, fiscal challenges aside, the biggest impediment could potentially be on the capacity front. We would seriously be hampered in terms of available bodies and skills to execute massive work of reconstruction and more so rehabilitation. This aspect must also be kept in perspective while calibrating the real impact on the economy of this catastrophe.

In the end, would like to conclude by acknowledging the national spirit of our great nation. Despite difficult economic realities, they have again stepped up at this time of need. The response of federal and provincial governments, civil society and private sector is beyond expectations. We at the Bank of Punjab are witnessing firsthand the tremendous response generated by the calls to raise funds for the flood affected families and have raised over Rs 2 billion hitherto in its various flood relief accounts.

As an institution, BoP is stepping up its CSR activities and have made arrangements whereby volunteering employees will be trained to build shelters and help in rehabilitation of the affected communities across the country. The Bank will bear all the costs.

We’re proud to be the first bank to extend relief to the small farmers by extending their loan repayments terms for a period of one year.

(Zafar Masud is President and CEO of The Bank of Punjab (BOP) while Sayem Ali is BOP’s Chief Economist)

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani industrialists expect up to 50 percent export setback after monsoon rains, floods | Arab News PK

https://www.arabnews.pk/node/2163341/pakistan

Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal said in a recent statement the flood-related damage could exceed $40 billion, though he added the government was working with international financial agencies to quantify the extent of devastation.

“The scale of the flood destruction is huge and still not comprehensively fathomed,” Muhammad Noman, convener of the central committee on exports at the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News. “Initial estimates suggest that the country’s exports may get 35 to 50 percent setback.”

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Pakistan’s devastating floods have almost wiped out the entire cotton crop, the main raw material for the textile sector, in the province of Sindh.

The floods have also partially damaged the crop in Punjab, causing a huge setback to the country’s biggest foreign exchange earning sector.

Pakistan’s overall exports during the last fiscal year stood at $31.79 billion out of which the textile sector contributed $19.32 billion, or 60.5 percent.

“Large swathes of cotton producing areas have been submerged by floods,” Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, chairman of the Pakistan Apparel Forum, told Arab News. “There are multiple issues with exports, including an increase in the cost of doing business and the refusal of authorities to open letters of credit which is also causing raw material issues. The exact impact of floods on our exports will be determined after three to four months when the current inventory of mills dries up.”

Pakistan’s textile sector requires about 12-14 million cotton bales on an annual basis, though local cotton production is expected to be around 6.5 million to 7.5 million bales this year.

The shortfall is expected to be met through imports.

Pakistan has also purchased raw cotton from the international market in the past, including the last fiscal year.

“We will have to import 1.5 million additional bales during the current year,” Khurram Mukhtar, patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Textile Exporters’ Association, said. “Commodity prices for all manufacturing countries are the same, driven by the US cotton index, so it will not affect our competitiveness.”

“The demand has gone down for domestic market consumption,” he continued. “Pakistan is still the most competitive country and we have one of the best infrastructures in the textile value chain. We have the most experience in making finished products among our peers.”

Riaz Haq said...

Riaz Haq
@haqsmusings
People Of #Flood-Hit #Pakistan Need #America's Help. #US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced legislation to provide more help to the country that has been devastated by recent #floods. #PakistanFloods #Sindh

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1571173078625030148?s=20&t=sptq7d0z3ATWm_L0h6R1uA

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Pakistan, she said, has been a friend and has helped the US in the evacuation of Afghan refugees; helped in the war on terror, where they lost the Pakistani military in the war on terror.

“And, of course, the huge and very engaging Pakistani diaspora, Pakistani Americans who are both respected and, of course, energised to be collaborative with their government here in the United States to try to save the lives of babies and children, women and men, people who are sick, who need kidney transplants, who can't get their medicine, it is imperative that we rise up to this occasion,” she said.

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Asserting that the people of Pakistan need America’s help, a US lawmaker has introduced legislation to provide more help to the country that has been devastated by recent floods.

The cash-strapped nation has been struggling with the worst floods in the past 30 years, leaving more than 1,400 dead and 33 million people affected since early June.


A third of the country is submerged in water and one in every seven persons is badly affected by the floods that have led to an estimated USD 12 billion in losses that have left about 78,000 square kilometers (21 million acres) of crops under water.

“The people of Pakistan need our help. The Pakistani Americans have risen to their call. So many in my Congressional district are providing and offering to help send medical care if you will,” Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, co-chair of the Pakistani Congressional Caucus said in her remarks in the House of Representatives.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Jackson-Lee said that it is very important for the US Congress to go on record in recognizing the devastation that the people are facing every single day.

“Would you imagine, even in the trials and tribulations that we have in the United States, that you have populations of people who are isolated by dirty water and that there are people who are living in the outlying areas with no shelter whatsoever,” she said.

“The people are hungry, the lack of food is rising. The pregnant women are fearful for the unbelievable challenges they have in giving birth,” she said.

“Madam Speaker, I am calling upon Congress, as I introduce this legislation dealing with the devastation of the floods in Pakistan, to join me in supporting the legislation and, as well, recognising the dire conditions that our friends in Pakistan are having,” Jackson-Lee said.


Jackson-Lee has just returned from Pakistan after a 10 days visit with the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. “I could see water as far as the eye could see. The devastation is overwhelming: 33 million people displaced, more than 600,000 homeless, but more than that, hungry,” she said.

She thanks the Biden administration for its initial support of the UN fund of USD 30 million and the additional funding of USD 20 million.

“After our briefing in Islamabad and working with the administration, the United States military joined in delivering 300,000 tents,” she said.

“To my colleagues, more is needed. I will be introducing legislation that reflects the delegation's work and, as well, their efforts; and that is, we need additional funding for these devastating conditions,” said the Democratic Congresswoman from Texas.

Riaz Haq said...

WHO Director-General's statement on Pakistan – 17 September 2022
17 September 2022 Statement Reading time: 1 min (352 words)

https://www.who.int/news/item/17-09-2022-who-director-general-s-statement-on-pakistan--17-september-2022

I am deeply concerned about the potential for a second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of disease and death following this catastrophe, linked to climate change, that has severely impacted vital health systems leaving millions vulnerable. The water supply is disrupted, forcing people to drink unsafe water, which can spread cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. Standing water enables mosquitoes to breed and spread vector- borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. Health centres have been flooded, their supplies damaged, and people have moved away from home which makes it harder for them to access their normal health services. All this means more unsafe births, more untreated diabetes or heart disease, and more children missing vaccination, to name but a few of the impacts on health.

But if we act quickly to protect health and deliver essential health services, we can significantly reduce the impact of this impending crisis. Health workers in Pakistan are stretched to the limit as they do all they can to deliver critical services amid the destruction. Nearly 2000 health facilities have been fully or partially damaged. Together with the government of Pakistan, UN and NGO partners, WHO is setting up temporary health facilities and medical camps and helping to re-supply medicines to other health centres. We are increasing disease surveillance so outbreaks can be detected early and people can get the treatment they need.

Government and partners are providing safe drinking water and access to toilets to lower the risks of disease from dirty water. WHO has provided water purification kits and oral rehydration salts to manage diarrhoeal diseases. Partners are also helping ensure safer housing and bed nets to protect against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

WHO immediately released US$10 million from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies which enabled us to deliver essential medicines and other supplies.

I thank the donors for their prompt response to the flash appeal. We continue to assess the scale of the crisis and will issue a revised appeal shortly. I urge donors to continue to respond generously so that, together, we can save lives and prevent more suffering.

Riaz Haq said...

VEON Subsidiary Pushes Digital Inclusion in Pakistan

Tommy Clift | Reporter

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/veon-subsidiary-pushes-digital-inclusion-in-pakistan/2022/09/

Mobilink Microfinance Bank (MMBL) launched a trio of initiatives to accelerate financial inclusion for farmers and female entrepreneurs in Pakistan. The move echoes another by its parent company VEON to promote digital access through its subsidiary Kyvistar.

The MMBL plans include an agriculture advisory service for Pakistani farmers, e-commerce services for female entrepreneurs, and 4G handsets. VEON CEO Kaan Terzioglu believes the initiatives will play a pivotal role in digitalizing the microfinance industry in Pakistan.


VEON noted in a statement that agriculture represents nearly 23% of Pakistan’s gross domestic product and employs approximately 37% of its workforce. Recent floods in the country destroyed 3.6 million acres of crops and killed 700,000 livestock, it added.

MMBL is partnering with Pakistan-based agricultural technology company BaKhabar Kissan to provide information and guidance on livestock management, weather monitoring, crop planting – including which are profitable, and boosting agricultural yields.

“We are aiming to build a digital infrastructure that will help further economic prosperity and financial empowerment among women business owners and small and medium-sized farmers in the country, two segments that have the potential to transform Pakistan’s economic future,” MMBL President and CEO Ghazanfar Azzam stated.

Their push to incentivize and advance female entrepreneurs comes with their collaboration with Pakistan e-commerce platforms Daraz and its flagship Women Inspirational Network (WIN) program. This is intend to promote a female-focused, “digital financial ecosystem” using their subscriber base – currently accounting for 53% of the 195 million cellular subscribers in Pakistan, according to VEON.

Women make up nearly half of the country’s population, but VEON notes “their financial inclusion figure stands at 7%.”

The new program will use the Digit 4G handsets to “drive participation in the digital economy among marginalized groups within the population.” The handsets will be discounted and targeted at female entrepreneurs, coming “pre-loaded with the digital banking application, MMBL DOST, which will enable customers to obtain quick financial assistance, pay bills, make money transfers, and use a vast array of digital banking services,” VEON explained.

Riaz Haq said...

#AngelinaJolie visits #Pakistan to support victims of devastating #floods. She will highlight need for urgent support for Pakistani people & long-term solutions to multiplying crises of #climatechange, human displacement globally. #FloodsInPakistan https://www.rescue.org/press-release/angelina-jolie-visits-pakistan-support-communities-affected-devastating-floods

International humanitarian Angelina Jolie is visiting Pakistan to support communities affected by the devastating floods. Heavy rains and floods across the country have impacted 33 million people and submerged one third of the country under water. Ms Jolie is visiting to witness and gain understanding of the situation, and to hear from people affected directly about their needs, and about steps to prevent such suffering in the future.

Ms Jolie, who previously visited victims of the 2010 floods in Pakistan, and the 2005 earthquake, will visit the IRC’s emergency response operations and local organisations assisting displaced people including Afghan refugees.

Pakistan, which has contributed just 1% of global carbon emissions, is also the second largest host of refugees globally, its people having sheltered Afghan refugees for over forty years.

Ms Jolie will highlight the need for urgent support for the Pakistani people and long-term solutions to address the multiplying crises of climate change, human displacement and protracted insecurity we are witnessing globally.

Ms Jolie will see first hand how countries like Pakistan are paying the greatest cost for a crisis they did not cause. The IRC hopes her visit will shed light on this issue and prompt the international community - particularly states contributing the most to carbon emissions - to act and provide urgent support to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

Shabnam Baloch, Pakistan Country Director at the IRC said:

“The climate crisis is destroying lives and futures in Pakistan, with severe consequences especially for women and children. The resulting economic loss from these floods will likely lead to food insecurity and an increase in violence against women and girls. We need immediate support to reach people in urgent need, and long term investments to stop climate change from destroying our collective futures. With more rains expected in the coming months, we hope Angelina Jolie’s visit will help the world wake up and take action.”

IRC’s latest needs assessment shows people are in urgent need of food, drinking water, shelter, and healthcare. Every person surveyed reported women and girls have no access to menstrual hygiene products. So far, the IRC has reached more than 50,000 women and girls with humanitarian assistance, including dignity and hygiene kits to address the need for sanitation and menstrual items. We have been providing lifesaving services to flood-affected communities in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh since early July and have reached almost 950,000 people with emergency supplies, food, healthcare and safe spaces.

Riaz Haq said...

Climate change likely helped cause deadly Pakistan floods, scientists find

https://www.npr.org/2022/09/19/1123798981/climate-change-likely-helped-cause-deadly-pakistan-floods-scientists-find

It is likely that climate change helped drive deadly floods in Pakistan, according to a new scientific analysis. The floods killed nearly 1500 people and displaced more than 30 million, after record-breaking rain in August.

The analysis confirms what Pakistan's government has been saying for weeks: that the disaster was clearly driven by global warming. Pakistan experienced its wettest August since the country began keeping detailed national weather records in 1961. The provinces that were hardest hit by floods received up to eight times more rain than usual, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Climate change made such heavy rainfall more likely, according to the analysis by a group of international climate scientists in Pakistan, Europe and the United States. While Pakistan has sometimes experienced heavy monsoon rains, about 75 percent more water is now falling during weeks when monsoon rains are heaviest, the scientists estimate.

The analysis is a so-called attribution study, a type of research that is conducted very quickly compared to other climate studies, and is meant to offer policymakers and disaster survivors a rough estimate of how global warming affected a specific weather event. More in-depth research is underway to understand the many ways that climate change affects monsoon rainfall.

For example, while it's clear that intense rain will keep increasing as the Earth heats up, climate models also suggest that overall monsoon rains will be less reliable. That would cause cycles of both drought and flooding in Pakistan and neighboring countries in the future.

Such climate whiplash has already damaged crops and killed people across southeast Asia in recent years, and led to a water crisis in Chennai, India in 2019.

The new analysis also makes clear that human caused climate change was not the only driver of Pakistan's deadly floods. Scientists point out that millions of people live in flood-prone areas with outdated drainage in provinces where the flooding was most severe. Upgrading drainage, moving homes and reinforcing bridges and roads would all help prevent such catastrophic damage in the future.

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/
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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.

Riaz Haq said...

World leaders join Pakistan for SOS on flood and debt

https://www.dawn.com/news/1711210/world-leaders-join-pakistan-for-sos-on-flood-and-debt

Paris offers to host rehabilitation conference
• Shehbaz to present Pakistan’s case on Friday
• UN chief opens UNGA with ‘debt-climate adaptation swaps’ suggestion

UNITED NATIONS: “Pakistan is drowning, not only in floodwater but in debt” too, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged the international community on Tuesday to stay engaged with the country as it deals with this huge humanitarian crisis.

Pakistan and France, meanwhile, agreed to identify ways and means to support efforts to tackle the challenge caused by the floods and Paris offered to host an international conference before the end of the year to help Islamabad rebuild in a climate-resilient manner.

“I recently saw it with my own eyes in Pakistan — where one-third of the country is submerged by a ‘monsoon on steroids’,” said the UN chief during a forceful address to world leaders gathered for the opening day of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.

Mr Guterres repeated the appeal he first made during his recent visit to Pakistan where he urged lenders to consider debt reduction to help those nations that were facing a possible economic collapse. “Creditors should consider debt reduction mechanisms such as debt-climate adaptation swaps,” he said again at the UNGA. “These could have saved lives and livelihoods in Pakistan, which is drowning not only in floodwater, but in debt.”

The UN chief urged the lenders to set up “an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries, including middle-income countries, in debt distress”.

This is the first UNGA session attended physically by world leaders after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also at the welcome reception hosted by Mr Guterres, Prime Minister Sharif interacted with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Spain Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi.


Besides, Mr Sharif expressed gratitude to Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas for sending the response and rescue team for the flood-affected people of Pakistan.

He also highlighted the need for helping out developing economies in a series of tweets. He was scheduled to address the Global Food Security Summit, but could not due to other engagements. In his tweets, he said he had come to the UNGA to “tell Pakistan’s story to the world, a story of deep anguish and pain arising out of a massive human tragedy caused by floods”.

Riaz Haq said...

Angelina Jolie after viewing the flood disaster in Pakistan: "I have never seen anything like this. I have been to Pakistan many times. Pakistanis have been very generous to Afghan refugees but now they need help. Often times those who have less give more than so many other countries. The climate change is not only real but it's here. This is a wakeup call to the world about where we are. The countries that have not done as much damage to climate are the ones that are bearing the brunt. The needs in Pakistan are now so great. I appeal to the world to help. Many of the victims here will not make it without a lot of help."

https://youtu.be/tsHpbzF_Olg

More excerpts of her press conference in Pakistan:

"I feel overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that since I am not living this."

"I've never seen anything like this and I have been to Pakistan many times"

"It is often seen that the countries that don't have as much give more than so many other countries"

"I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more. I feel that we say that often... we speak of aid appeals, relief and support but this is something very, very different"

"Climate change is not only real and it is not only coming, it is here,"

"I've seen the lives that were saved but I've also seen... I've been speaking to people and thinking that if enough aid doesn't come they won't be here in next few weeks... they won't make it"

"Even if they make it next few months with the winter coming and the destruction of the crops and the hard reality ... I am overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that because I am not living this so I simply try to speak out for help. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be there"

"I will return and continue to return and my heart is very, very much with the people at this time"

Riaz Haq said...

Following Devastating #FloodsInPakistan2022, Senators Feinstein, Gillibrand, Colleagues Call on President Biden to Grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Pakistani Nationals, allowing them to remain in #US until #Pakistan recovers. #Immigration https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=03478F8A-A22A-4D15-A5D3-CF660F413965

In addition to Feinstein and Gillibrand, the letter was also signed by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).


“Granting TPS to Pakistani nationals in need is a small but consequential step that the United States can take to immediately reduce the human suffering caused by this natural disaster and would reaffirm our stance as a global leader committed to humanitarian relief efforts and protections,” wrote the senators. “Should Pakistan officially request TPS designation given the current conditions the country is facing, we urge the Biden administration to prioritize such a request while continuing to monitor ongoing developments and deliberate on the best way to aid the Pakistani community.”

Riaz Haq said...

Saeed Shah
@SaeedShah
Developing countries want funds to deal with climate disasters they say are caused by greenhouse gas emissions of rich countries. The bill could run to trillions. The scale of floods in Pakistan has made the country a leading voice in this demand for help https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-leads-push-for-funding-to-counter-damage-from-climate-change-11663936447

https://twitter.com/SaeedShah/status/1573290834761420802?s=20&t=qPV5OMLbkkKUvoFNnOWXXQ

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After suffering catastrophic floods, Pakistan is leading a push with other developing nations to establish international funding for natural disasters that they say are caused by climate change, in an effort to spur momentum around the issue ahead of climate negotiations later this year.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a speech Friday at the United Nations General Assembly, is set to point to record rainfall that has inundated parts of Pakistan in recent weeks to make the case that those countries who have contributed least to causing global warming are suffering the most from the impacts of climate change, aides say. Pakistan produces around 1% of global greenhouse-gas emissions but estimates that the floods will cost it more than $30 billion in lost economic growth and rebuilding costs.

“We have become the postcard from the edge of the climate precipice,” said Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister, adding that the floods have set the country’s development back by a decade. “The bargain between the global South and the North is broken.”

There will likely be a clash over the issue at the next climate summit, COP27, to be held in Egypt in November, where officials from developing nations say they will seek again to get a general agreement on setting up a fund for “loss and damage” from wealthier nations.

At the last climate summit, in Glasgow, a proposal from developing countries for a dedicated funding facility under that umbrella went nowhere. European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said it wasn’t possible to agree to a new fund without first working out what it would do and who would fund it.

“Rather than accepting what could have been an empty symbolic gesture, the EU considers that it may better help affected communities by scaling up the work of institutions that they already turn to when facing impacts in the real world,” Mr. Timmermans said in a statement earlier this year.



This year, Pakistan will try to harness global attention on the floods to shift the debate. It will be leading the biggest grouping of countries at the gathering, the G-77 bloc of more than 130 developing countries plus China, giving Islamabad an important role in coordinating the drive for disaster recovery and rebuilding funds. Egypt, president of COP27, says it is also supporting the effort.

After decades of negotiations, developed nations committed in 2009 to contribute funds to poorer countries for reducing the impact of climate change, by switching to energy sources that lower carbon emissions and implementing measures to adapt, such as moving populations to higher ground or building embankment defenses against floods. They committed to providing $100 billion a year from 2020 to 2025, a target not yet achieved. Some $83 billion was paid in 2020, including loans and export credits, not just grants, according to a tally by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of developed nations.

However, that money is for preventative measures. Developing countries say the missing element is money available for disasters when they hit. That category is known as “loss and damage” in climate negotiations. For many developing countries, this funding is a matter of basic fairness, or “climate justice,” as they say that historically, emissions have been caused largely by the richer countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Leads Push for Funding to Counter Damage From Climate Change
The country’s destructive floods will underpin efforts at the U.N., and at climate talks this year, to progress on an international fund for losses from extreme weather

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-leads-push-for-funding-to-counter-damage-from-climate-change-11663936447

Richer countries have generally been resistant to the idea, given the trillions of dollars potentially involved and the difficulty of deciding how to disburse the funds. An unsuccessful proposal from developing nations at the last summit, in Glasgow, demanded at least $1.3 trillion annually, to finance the shift away from fossil fuels and to protect themselves from the effects of climate change, starting in 2030.

“There’s been decades of pushback on liability and compensation,” said Yamide Dagnet, director of Climate Justice at Open Society, a group that advocates for democracy and government accountability. The 2015 Paris climate accord, for example, included the idea of “loss and damage,” but developed countries wouldn’t agree to any language that would provide any basis for liability or compensation, she said. “The scale of Pakistan’s floods is defining the issue of loss and damage,” Ms. Dagnet said.

In his speech to the U.N. on Wednesday, President Biden singled out Pakistan’s disaster as an example of the “human cost of climate change.” U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met this week with the Pakistani prime minister on the sidelines of the General Assembly, tweeting afterward that they discussed “the urgent need to work together to fight the climate crisis.” The U.S. is the biggest donor so far to Pakistan’s appeal for humanitarian aid for the floods, with $55 million.

Mr. Kerry said this week that he was focused on reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions, including by large developing countries that are now major emitters. Loss and damage will be part of the discussions at the COP27 summit, but he said he didn’t expect any broad agreement would be reached until 2024. “You can’t just set up a facility in six weeks,” said Mr. Kerry. “Where’s the money coming from?”

“In all honesty, the most important thing that we can do is stop, mitigate enough that we prevent loss and damage,” Mr. Kerry said. “And the next most important thing we can do is help people adapt to the damage that’s already there. ”

Still, some governments have undertaken symbolic gestures. This week, Denmark became the first country to offer “loss and damage” compensation to vulnerable countries, pledging $13 million.

Conrod Hunte, deputy chairman of the Association of Small Island States, nations that are some of the most vulnerable to climate change, said that Pakistan’s flooding demonstrates the need for a loss and damages fund. “If the moral conscience of our development partners really kicks in, I think this is something we can walk away with,” Mr. Hunte said.

Droughts and floods are likely to become more intense as a result of climate change, scientists say. In Pakistan this summer, monsoon clouds followed an unusual trajectory, to the south of the country, where more than five times the normal rain fell, not the mountainous north.

A study last week from World Weather Attribution, a global collaboration of scientists that seeks to provide information on the role of global warming in specific weather events, said that climate change was likely a contributing factor in Pakistan’s heavier rainfall this year. That study followed an earlier one from the same group, which found that a heat wave that hit India and Pakistan this spring was made 30 times more likely as a result of climate change.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Leads Push for Funding to Counter Damage From Climate Change
The country’s destructive floods will underpin efforts at the U.N., and at climate talks this year, to progress on an international fund for losses from extreme weather

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-leads-push-for-funding-to-counter-damage-from-climate-change-11663936447

A study last week from World Weather Attribution, a global collaboration of scientists that seeks to provide information on the role of global warming in specific weather events, said that climate change was likely a contributing factor in Pakistan’s heavier rainfall this year. That study followed an earlier one from the same group, which found that a heat wave that hit India and Pakistan this spring was made 30 times more likely as a result of climate change.




Fahad Saeed, an Islamabad-based scientist at Germany’s Climate Analytics think tank, and one of the co-authors of the study, said that the earlier heat wave warmed the ground, which was a significant factor in drawing in moisture from the sea and the monsoon clouds to the southern part of the country.

“We now have scientific evidence for Pakistan that losses and damages can be attributed to climate change,” Mr. Saeed said.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, told a meeting organized by Pakistan this week that discussions around this funding will be “a principal issue on the global climate action agenda” and he hoped for “positive results” at COP27, according to a statement from his government.

The total finance available annually for climate action came to an average of $632 billion for 2019 and 2020, including the private sector, according to a report from Climate Policy Initiative, an advisory firm based in San Francisco. Of that sum, 90% went on switching to cleaner energy, and 7% to adaptation measures such as moving to drought-resistant crops. That leaves losses from extreme weather unfunded, said Preety Bhandari, senior adviser at the World Resources Institute, a think tank based in Washington.

“There is really no option but progress on ‘loss and damage’ at COP27,” said Ms. Bhandari. “It is a make-or-break issue.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif fears that all hell will break loose if a debt deal is not reached to aid the flood-stricken country as the threat of epidemics looms large.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/2022/09/23/pakistan-pm-says-all-hell-will-break-loose-if-debt-deal-not-reached/

More than 1,400 people have been killed and 33 million affected by record flooding and monsoon rains which battered the country in recent months, and also caused devastation in neighbouring Afghanistan. Recovery is estimated to cost at least $30 billion.

In an interview with Bloomberg in New York, where he was scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Friday, Mr Sharif said he had spoken to European leaders and creditor nations to secure a moratorium on debt, some of which is due in the next two months.

“Unless we get substantial relief, how can the world expect from us to stand on our own feet?" he said. "It is simply impossible."

Thousands of doctors have been sent to Pakistan's worst-hit province of Sindh to battle against the spread of waterborne diseases. More than 134,000 cases of diarrhoea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the province this past week, AP reported.

Addressing the "colossal" costs of rebuilding, Mr Sharif also warned of impending chaos if Pakistan does not receive more funds.

“God forbid this happens, all hell will break," he said. “Time is running, and we’re racing against time. Please help us avoid this disaster.”

On a recent visit to the country, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for "global support" in the aftermath of the floods. He issued a warning of the universal effect of climate change, another issue high on the UNGA agenda this year.

“We will do everything possible to mobilise the international community to support your country and to support all of you in this dramatic situation," he said during his visit.

“Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today, it is Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”


The US Agency for International Development previously announced it would send $50 million in emergency relief assistance.

Angelina Jolie this week visited Pakistan, where she said she had "never seen anything like it".

She repeated Mr Guterres's call for increased international aid.

"We see it's the countries that don't cause as much [damage] to the environment that's bearing the brunt of the disaster," said Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency. "I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more.

"This is a real wake-up call to the world about where we're at. Climate change is not only real and it's not only coming, it's very much here."

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan battles disease surge as flood deaths surpass 1,600
By MUNIR AHMED Associated Press SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 — 12:40PM

https://www.startribune.com/pakistan-battles-disease-surge-as-flood-deaths-surpass-1600/600209487/

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan deployed thousands more doctors and medics to battle the outbreak of disease as the death toll from the unprecedented floods that have gripped the country this summer surpassed 1,600 on Friday, officials said.

The disaster management agency said 10 more people had died from the floods in the past 24 hours — four in Sindh, the worst-hit province in the deluge, and six in Baluchistan province — bringing the overall number of fatalities to 1,606 across Pakistan.

In Sindh, where thousands of makeshift medical camps for flood survivors have been set up, the National Disaster Management Authority said outbreaks of a spate of illnesses such as typhoid, malaria and dengue fever have killed at least 300 of the flood victims.

Some of the doctors who refused to work in Sindh province have been fired by the government, according to the provincial health department. Floods have killed 728 people, including 313 children and 134 women in the province since July.

The monsoon rains and flooding, which many experts say are fueled by climate change, have also affected 33 million people and destroyed or damaged 2 million homes across Pakistan. About half a million flood survivors are homeless, living in tents and makeshift structures.

Over the past two months, Pakistan sent nearly 10,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff to tend to survivors in across Sindh. About 18,000 doctors and nearly 38,000 paramedics are treating survivors in the province, according to the latest data from the health department.

Floods have also damaged more than 1,000 health facilities in Sindh, forcing some survivors to travel to other areas to seek medical help.

Waterborne and other diseases in the past two months have killed 334 flood victims, authorities said. The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to raise the alarm about a "second disaster," with doctors on the ground racing to battle outbreaks.

Some floodwaters in Pakistan have receded, but many districts in Sindh are still submerged, and displaced people living in tents and makeshift camps face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue fever and malaria, which are on the rise amid stagnant waters.

Also Friday in Sindh, teams of fumigators fanned out across flood-hit areas, spraying in an effort to keep mosquitos at bay and prevent further outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria. Over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the hardest-hit areas of Sindh this past week.

Dengue fever is also on the rise, especially in Karachi, the provincial capital, where health teams were spraying insecticide onto puddles of water in the streets.

The devastation has led the United Nations to consider sending more money than it committed during its flash appeal for $160 million to support Pakistan's flood response.

Riaz Haq said...

#WorldBank pledges $2 billion for #flood-ravaged #Pakistan.The World Bank agreed last week to provide $850 million in flood #relief for Pakistan. The $2 billion figure includes that amount. #FloodsInPakistan2022 #ClimateCrisis #Sindh https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/World-Bank-pledges-2-billion-for-flood-ravaged-17465357.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral via @SFGate

Raiser said the bank is working with provincial authorities to begin as quickly as possible repairing infrastructure and housing and “restore livelihoods, and to help strengthen Pakistan’s resilience to climate-related risks. We are envisaging financing of about $2 billion to that effect."

Over the past two months, Pakistan has sent nearly 10,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff to tend to survivors in Sindh province.
-------

The World Bank said it will provide about $2 billion in aid to Pakistan, ravaged by floods that have killed more than 1,600 people this year, the largest pledge of assistance so far.

Unprecedented monsoon rains and flooding this year — which many experts attribute to climate change — have also injured some 13,000 people across the country since mid-June. The floods have displaced millions and destroyed crops, half a million homes and thousands of kilometers (miles) of roads.

The World Bank’s vice president for South Asia, Martin Raiser, announced the pledge in an overnight statement after concluding his first official visit to the country Saturday.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and livelihoods due to the devastating floods and we are working with the federal and provincial governments to provide immediate relief to those who are most affected,” he said.

Raiser met with federal ministers and the chief minister of southern Sindh province, the most affected region, where he toured the badly hit Dadu district.

Thousands of makeshift medical camps for flood survivors have been set up in the province, where the National Disaster Management Authority said outbreaks of typhoid, malaria and dengue fever have killed at least 300 people.

The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to raise the alarm about a “second disaster,” with doctors on the ground racing to battle outbreaks.

“As an immediate response, we are repurposing funds from existing World Bank-financed projects to support urgent needs in health, food, shelter, rehabilitation and cash transfers," Raiser said.

The World Bank agreed last week in a meeting with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly to provide $850 million in flood relief for Pakistan. The $2 billion figure includes that amount.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans-biblical-floods-and-the-case-for-climate-reparations

We have tried, in various ways, to convey to the world the scale of destruction caused by recent floods in Pakistan, because, apparently, a third of the country underwater and thirty-three million lives upended doesn’t cut it. Pakistan’s climate minister has called it Biblical. We have shot and shared videos in which the landmark New Honeymoon Hotel crumbles in the duration of a TikTok. The U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres, who is seventy-three and has called the climate crisis a “code red for humanity,” visited Pakistan and said that he hadn’t seen this scale of climate carnage in his life. Some of us have created maps showing that the areas underwater are larger than Britain. We have shown pictures of dead and starving cattle to appeal to animal-lovers. We have posted videos of puppies being heroically rescued from rushing waters.

Maybe when the world seems to be ending, it needs poets. A poet in Khairpur, in southern Pakistan, one of the worst-affected areas, was asked by a journalist if he had received a tent to shelter his family. He found the idea so improbable that he asked, “Why are you making fun of me? Why would anyone give me a tent?” Pakistanis are saying that charity tents and emergency supplies are welcome, but what we need and want is compensation for climate-related loss and damage. Although much of the world seems to agree in principle, there is a we-have-all-heard-this-before weariness in the air. Our innovative communications have little impact. The U.S. has offered fifty million dollars and “long-term” support, the U.N. has appealed for a hundred and sixty million, France has offered to hold a donors’ conference, Angelina Jolie has flown in and said that she’s never seen such devastation. President Biden casually mentioned at the U.N. General Assembly that Pakistan “needs help,” without any specifics. This all sounds like a lot until you remember that Pakistan’s losses are estimated to be around thirty billion dollars.

Experts have pointed out that this is not the kind of flood that causes weeks of havoc and then leaves behind fertile lands. Six months from now, flooded fields still may not be ready for cultivation. Most people affected by the floods live off the land, from crop to crop. Waterborne diseases and food shortages are already rampant. Climate scientists who have studied Pakistani floods have concluded that they can only predict more unpredictability.

Scientists are clear, however, that the catastrophe in Pakistan is linked to global warming. Pakistan generates less than one per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. We are quite good at blaming ourselves and our governments for our misfortunes, but global warming is overwhelmingly caused by rich folks living thousands of miles away, mostly in the West, by people who know that their air-conditioned homes and midsize cars and Caribbean holidays have snatched away the home and livelihood of someone in a village in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans-biblical-floods-and-the-case-for-climate-reparations


The West sees its culpability in this man-made disaster but prefers to blame the victim. I think of a fable that I grew up with, in which a lamb drinks from a river downstream until a lion accuses it of polluting the river upstream. In the version of the fable that I remember, the lion eats the lamb as punishment. Imagine this: the driver of an S.U.V. speeds into a country lane, hits a person on a bicycle, and then, instead of paying damages, asks the cyclist to drive an electric vehicle powered by renewable energy. The driver of the S.U.V. wonders why the cyclist wasn’t more resilient, and asks, “Why didn’t you plan for a future where my car might come and destroy your bicycle and break your leg? You could have prepared for a better future, for apocalyptic floods, but what did you do? You prepared a petition for reparations? And you don’t even have a practical plan for how these reparations would work?”

Those calling for climate reparations received an answer from America’s climate envoy, John Kerry, at the U.N. General Assembly last week. “You tell me the government in the world that has trillions of dollars, ’cause that’s what it costs,” he said, perhaps steeling himself for difficult questions at November’s global climate conference, cop27, in Egypt. Western governments do have trillions of dollars, and they have had more than a decade to think through how climate reparations should work. Kerry sounded like he was haggling over the price of life jackets with drowning people.

Maybe Pakistan could have handled the current floods better if we had done our homework. We had a massive flood in 2010, experts were flown in, reports and studies were commissioned and then shelved. But Pakistan, like its Western allies, had other priorities: we were busy in neighboring Afghanistan, helping America defeat the Taliban, or maybe helping the Taliban defeat America—we are still not sure. On the other border, we were busy with India. Even in the week of our Biblical floods, we managed to finalize a deal with the United States worth four hundred and fifty million dollars, to upgrade our F-16 fighter planes. We may not know how we are going to feed our people for the next six months, but we have made sure that we can keep them safe from hostile aircraft.

Like Westerners, Pakistani élites planned for security and progress. We turned agricultural lands into golf courses and gated communities, and built houses on riverbeds, and grew cash crops along waterways. We thought less about the millions who live in mud houses, who till someone else’s land to feed their kids and save a bit in hopes of sending them to school one day. Now the water has turned their houses back into mud, and washed away the grain that they stocked for the entire year, and flooded the land that still belongs to someone else. They dare not dream of justice, let alone climate justice.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans-biblical-floods-and-the-case-for-climate-reparations

Experts tell us that the world suffers from donor fatigue, what with a war in Ukraine, in which people with fair skin and blue eyes are fleeing their homes and fighting for their lives. What goes unsaid is that hearts have been hardened by repeated images of brown mothers cradling skeletal children who are covered in flies, along overflowing rivers or scorched fields. Or maybe rich nations think that they should save their money for when the disasters come for them.

Sometimes my own compatriots tell the world, If you don’t listen, it could happen to you. The West seems unfazed by this logic: climate carnage has happened there, is happening there. Perhaps the West fears that if it acknowledges any debt to a country like Pakistan, it will no longer be able to withhold what it owes its own citizens. A childhood friend lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for most of his life, and in the span of a year his house and business were destroyed thrice, first by Hurricane Laura, then snow, then flooding. He reluctantly put his house up for sale, moved to Los Angeles, and slowly started to build a life. The aid that the government promised to Lake Charles hasn’t arrived. After Hurricane Maria, hundreds of thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico were denied federal assistance. They were still vulnerable when Hurricane Fiona brought floods and blackouts again, this week. The lamb does not escape the lion by showing a U.S. passport.


A global climate movement has made people aware of their carbon footprint, of the impact of their eating habits, of the evils of fossil-fuel companies, but it has yet to convince people that they and their governments can and should pay for what they helped to destroy. They must, because the losses and damages will only grow, and because the West became rich from the burning of fossil fuels, and because the village that is drowning may one day be their own.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Biblical Floods and the Case for Climate Reparations
Isn’t it time for rich nations to pay the communities that they have helped to drown?
By Mohammed Hanif

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/pakistans-biblical-floods-and-the-case-for-climate-reparations

When rich nations refuse to acknowledge that countries such as Pakistan need climate reparations, they not only shirk their responsibility now but set a precedent of inaction and impunity, even within their own borders. They seem to say, We can build walls so high that the polluted air will only poison you. When it melts glaciers, only you will drown, and when your fields are flooded, only you will go hungry. We can give you a few thousand tents to shelter your millions, or rafts to float you over what used to be self-sustaining villages, but we don’t owe you anything. If it happens to us, rich countries seem to say, we won’t starve. We can always eat you. ♦

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s 1st woman architect co-creates sustainable shelters with severe flood survivors
Pakistan received over three times its usual rainfall in August.

ByRiley Farrell
September 28, 2022, 1:09 AM


https://abcnews.go.com/International/pakistans-1st-woman-architect-creates-sustainable-shelters-severe/story?id=90568829

Though Yasmeen Lari, co-founder of the disaster relief nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, is no stranger to distress, she felt “devastated” by one recent photo, which captured a now-deceased mother’s birth as witnesses pulled her infant out of the muddy water.

Pakistan received over three times its usual rainfall in August, marking this storm as one of the area's deadliest natural disasters in five decades. The enormity of the tragedy, she said, requires a national paradigm shift toward solutions and away from “outsider handouts."

In the weeks since the flooding, Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, created in 1981, has provided 1,200 bamboo material sets to Sindh, one of the nation’s hardest-hit provinces.

By the end of August, Pakistan's minister of climate change said one-third of the country was under water -- an area with roughly 33 million people -- and the torrential downpour washed away communities, leaving people at risk of waterborne illnesses, drowning and malnutrition.

The government of Pakistan estimated the total losses to be worth upward of $40 billion from the flooding. Climate change will propel this extreme weather to continue wreaking havoc on Pakistan and the rest of the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Often labeled Pakistan’s first woman architect, Lari, 81, had a storied career of designing commercial buildings, such as the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Finance and Trade Center and the Pakistan State Oil House Headquarters in Karachi. She retired in 2000, pursuing humanitarian architectural efforts that intersect Pakistani culture and low-carbon, pragmatic solutions, which she has called her “past life’s atonement.”

Experts are not needed to assemble Lari’s shelters, as the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan has released YouTube guides for those who need to quickly learn.

Lari differentiates her nonprofit from others by focusing on knowledge-sharing and finding ways for women to participate in their own livelihoods and autonomy.

Women in Pakistan, she said, have capabilities to create beauty and patterns, just as they were taught by their mothers and their mothers before them.

On the other hand, charity responses to Pakistan’s past disasters have been “alien to the terrain and to the people,” Lari said.

“Everything is co-created,” Lari said. “Our materials must provide social and ecological justice so that human life is at the forefront.”

Perhaps most importantly, Lari believes that empowerment is more effective than handouts. To emphasize her prioritization of dignity and maternal connection with Pakistan, she applied the metaphor of dastarkhwan, a name used across Central and South Asia referring to a traditional space where food is eaten.

“I link the project to a mother's dining room, which has cooked for the whole village,” Lari said. “Nobody is throwing bags of food rations at you, but the progress is done in a civilized manner.”

Riaz Haq said...

These bamboo shelters are empowering communities displaced by Pakistan's floods

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/pakistan-floods-bamboo-shelters-climate-intl-hnk/index.html

Pakistan's "never-before-seen" floods have affected 33 million people, many of whom are still seeking safe refuge after record monsoon rains damaged or destroyed more than a million homes. The summer's catastrophic flooding, which was exacerbated by melting glaciers, has submerged one-third of the country, with authorities saying it could take up to six months for the water to recede.
To address the need for emergency housing, architect Yasmeen Lari and the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan have been working around the clock to equip people in hard-hit Sindh province with the skills and materials to construct prefabricated bamboo shelters.
The shelters, called Lari OctaGreen (LOG), can be built by six or seven people within a few hours. They were initially designed in response to a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit northeastern Afghanistan in 2015, with a pilot program providing temporary homes to several hundred families in neighboring Pakistan, where the majority of deaths occurred. Since 2018, more than 1,200 bamboo versions have been built in disaster-prone areas. (Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis according to the Global Climate Risk Index, despite European Union data showing that it is responsible for less than 1% of planet-warming gases).
The project aims to give people in disaster-stricken areas a sense of agency by teaching them how to build their own homes — and helping them generate income in the process, as many have lost their livelihoods. Communities are also taught ways to deal with future disasters, such as making aquifer trenches and wells to absorb rainwater.
"The people who are impacted want to contribute the most," Lari said in a phone interview, explaining that many of the project's artisans are from the flooded villages. They have also been helping identify who needs help and how to deliver the prefabricated parts.
"People are sitting under the sky with nothing. They are thinking: How can we work? They have no security, no privacy, no dignity," Lari said, adding that people "don't need handouts" but should, instead, be empowered.
The shelters are designed to be low cost, low tech and low in environmental impact. "I want it to be zero carbon," explained Lari, whose foundation has been entirely subsidizing the emergency homes at a cost of about 25,000 Pakistani rupees ($108) each. "I don't want to create another problem in climate change by building in concrete or steel."
Bamboo was chosen for its strength and resilience. And, because it's commonly grown throughout the country, it's easier to source. Two workshops have been established to cut the bamboo rods to specific sizes and then bundle them into kits. The shelters are assembled, on site, into eight sturdy panels and a roof that are then bound together by rope and covered with matting.
Where possible, "everything should be locally-sourced" Lari said. "This is a way to link up the production of housing with how people can earn immediately."

Riaz Haq said...

#UN to seek $800 million more in aid for #flood-hit #Pakistan “to respond to the extraordinary scale of the devastations” #FloodsInPakistan #ClimateCrisis https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/un-to-seek-800-million-more-in-aid-for-flood-hit-pakistan/2022/09/30/89d5090e-40b9-11ed-8c6e-9386bd7cd826_story.html

The United Nations will seek $800 million more in aid from the international community to respond to soaring life-saving needs of Pakistani flood survivors, a U.N. official said Friday.

The unprecedented deluges — likely worsened by climate change — have killed 1,678 people in Pakistan since mid-June. About half a million survivors are still living in tents and makeshift shelters.

Julien Harneis, the U.N. resident coordinator in Pakistan, told reporters in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, that the latest appeal will be issued from Geneva on Tuesday. It comes just weeks after the agency sought $160 million in emergency funding for 33 million people affected by floods.

Harneis said the U.N. decided to issue the revised appeal “to respond to the extraordinary scale of the devastations” caused by the floods. Pakistan’s displaced are now confronting waterborne and other diseases, he said. The outbreaks, health officials say, have caused more than 300 deaths so far.

Since July, several countries and U.N. agencies have sent more than 130 flights carrying aid for the flood victims, many of whom complain they have either received too little help or are still waiting for aid.

Officials and experts have blamed the rains and resulting floodwaters on climate change. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited some of the flood-hit areas earlier this month. He has repeatedly called on the international community to send massive amounts of aid to Pakistan.

The Pakistani government estimates the losses from the floods to be about $30 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s #flood crisis could be an opportunity for real change. Devastating floods have also hit #Florida. Considering the global nature of #climate challenge, at some point #US & #Pakistan must find the courage to work together on "Green Marshall Plan" https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/29/pakistan-flood-crisis-climate-change-warning/

This week, Americans are understandably focused on the hurricane-related flooding in Florida, which is causing tragedy for thousands. Yet there is little attention in the United States to the fact that Pakistan has been flooded since mid-June, a catastrophe that is still causing unspeakable suffering for tens of millions.


Both of these crises owe much to the same phenomenon — climate change. But aside from some limited aid, there’s scant U.S.-Pakistan cooperation on long-term solutions. That has to change, according to Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was in the United States this week pitching his proposal for a “Green Marshall Plan.” In meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and others, Zardari argued for a way those countries most responsible for climate change can help those countries most affected — and, in turn, help themselves.

It’s a big idea, and there are reasons for skepticism. But considering the global nature of the climate challenge, at some point the United States and Pakistan must find the courage to work together. In the process, the two countries might find a way back to being true allies, which would benefit both sides and balance China’s rising influence in the South Asia region.

“We have to find the opportunity in this crisis,” Zardari told me. “There are two ways of us going forward. We can do this dirtier, badly, in a way that will be worse for us and worse for the environment, or we can try to build back better in a greener, more climate-resilient manner.”

Zardari’s call for a “Green Marshall Plan” is meant to evoke America’s historical penchant for pursuing its enlightened self-interest. The idea also plays into President Biden’s own Build Back Better World concept. The theory is that Western government support for private-sector investment in climate-resilient, ecologically sustainable infrastructure in Pakistan would redound to the benefit of Western industry and help mitigate the future climate-related crises that are sure to come.

Florida will have several days of rain. In Pakistan, it rained for more than three months, submerging one-third of the country in a body of water than can be seen from space. The high floodwaters have created a cascade of problems, devastating Pakistan’s agriculture, manufacturing, trade and public health sectors.

Floods are almost a perennial occurrence in Pakistan, but this year’s continuing disaster is uniquely cataclysmic, impacting more than 33 million people (more than Florida’s entire population), including 16 million children and more than 600,000 pregnant women, according to the United Nations.

The flood and its aftereffects also risk throwing Pakistan right back into the economic crisis it was clawing its way out of. Pakistan was already on the hook to pay back $1 billion of the $10 billion it owes the Paris Club by the end of this year. Islamabad also owes some $30 billion to China. Now the country is being forced to borrow billions more to deal with the current situation.

The real question, Zardari said, is not whether the international community will come through with short-term aid and debt relief. The challenge is for the world to realize that Pakistan’s flood crisis won’t be the last or the worst, meaning the international response must take a far broader view.

In a world where covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war and the worldwide economic slowdown are commanding the attention of policymakers in Western capitals, the bandwidth for new and expensive ideas is narrow. Zardari knows it’s a tough sell.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s #flood crisis could be an opportunity for real change. Devastating floods have also hit #Florida. Considering the global nature of #climate challenge, at some point #US & #Pakistan must find the courage to work together on "Green Marshall Plan" https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/29/pakistan-flood-crisis-climate-change-warning/


In a world where covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war and the worldwide economic slowdown are commanding the attention of policymakers in Western capitals, the bandwidth for new and expensive ideas is narrow. Zardari knows it’s a tough sell.

“I understand that the concept of a Green Marshall Plan might not have many players. But that doesn’t change the fact that I believe it genuinely is the solution,” he said. “We have to pause our geopolitical differences and unite to face this existential threat to mankind.”

The concept of investing in green infrastructure in a coordinated, global way is not new; but under the current plans, it’s not happening. Global promises to invest $100 billion in the Green Climate Fund for developing countries by 2020 have been broken.

And while humanitarian aid is not primarily about strategic competition, it is worth noting that China has its own project called the Green Silk Road, and that Beijing is pushing propaganda in Pakistan claiming it is more generous than the United States (which is not true). The need to counter Chinese influence was a big reason the White House hosted leaders of 14 Pacific Island nations this week, all of which are suffering disproportionately from climate change.

In Washington, Pakistan has become something of a pariah, following years of disagreements over Afghanistan and other issues. But the end of that war provides an opening for a rethink. To be sure, Pakistan’s democracy looks shaky at times — but then again, so does America’s. The two allies still share many long-term interests, and saving the planet should be at the top of the list.