ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pakistan in the Aftermath of Floods

Climate Change and Reparations for Sindh and Balochistan

As Pakistan’s worst affected recover from the recent floods, the province of Sindh and Balochistan will need serious reparatory action from both local and international actors. International actors continue to profit from the extractions and lending enterprises, while locally, the most climate vulnerable are systematically excluded from dialogue and process for development projects that impact their rights to housing and livelihood and protect them from climate change.

Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. In 2022, monsoon rainfalls affected more than 33 million people, displaced 8 million and resulted in at least 1,730 deaths (World Bank 2022). The losses were enor­mous and included damaged homes, water and sanitation infrastructure and health facilities, loss of livestock, belongings, livelihoods, and loss of access to safe drinking water for 5.5 million. Humanitarian assistance was required by 20.6 million people and 14.6 million people were in need of emergency food aid. Children and women experienced the worst of these shocks with 10 million at-risk children requiring immediate life-saving support and 6,50,000 pregnant women left without access to adequate healthcare (ReliefWeb 2022). This was a major climactic event that created catastrophic conditions in the worst-hit provinces—mainly Sindh and Balochistan—and it was particularly bad for those who were the most vulnerable in terms of available mitigative and ada­ptive resour­ces to avert the risks.

In September, we visited Badin, a district that is part of the precarious Indus River Delta. We drove along a road connecting three small towns—Pangrio, Malkani, and Jhuddo—and for miles, all that we saw were makeshift tents on both sides and people camped out for over two months. Most of the tents were made with ordinary fabric or rilli, while some of the better-quality ones with logos of international non-governmental organisations (NGOS) had been extracted from local warehouses. People complai­ned that they had no provisions of regular rations, no electricity and they were thrust into darkness in the evening with nothing to do, awaiting the dewatering of their villages. At one spot, the site of an unfortunate road accident, the district government had installed ­solar panel powered bulbs. Eighty percent of the cotton crop that was ready for harvest had been destroyed and livelihoods had taken a hit; people had no access to income ­except for men doing odd jobs in city centres, which did not earn them enough to buy basic foodstuffs. There was looming food insecurity as the next season of wheat had been missed. Landowners were offering PKR 1,000 to pick 40 kilograms of cotton in an attempt to salvage what was left, a rate increase from PKR 700, but involved standing in toxic floodwater to do the job.

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Updated On : 19th Dec, 2022
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