Thousands of people were displaced from their homes due to climate change induced floods in Pakistan (photo: AP)
Although the monsoon rains are anticipated yearly in Pakistan, the current flooding has proved more destructive than anything most people can remember. Some provinces have received more than five times their average rainfall since June, and by the time the monster monsoon ends it will have submerged a good third of the country.
A climate-induced disaster of epic proportions, the flooding has killed 1100 people, afflicted thousands more with water-borne, especially skin diseases, displaced millions by sweeping away or damaging some 500 thousand homes, and brought down infrastructure. It has affected 15 per cent of the population in Sindh, Baluchistan, Nowshera, Swat and elsewhere in the north, with numerous heart-rending scenes of the dead and dying, flood victims being pulled up by pullies, the bereaved and the displaced.
In the Qamber Shahdad Kot district of Sindh, one of the worst affected provinces where the entire infrastructure has been destroyed by flashfloods, a displaced resident of a village named Junani named Meridan Bibi had to give birth in the water, where the baby drowned almost as soon as it was born.
Millions in Qamber Shahdad Kot, where basic facilities tend to be lacking anyway, have received no support from the powers that be. The Naseeb Ullah brothers saw the house they had built with their own hands disappear in the mud. A man named Mohamed Farid lost his daughter to the river when she took the goat to graze. Eight members of a Kaghan same family died together. One heartbreaking video making the rounds on Twitter from a nearby village, Wara, where a starving little girl can be seen pretending to eat from an empty pot after having nothing to eat for days.
Locals say their crops and animals have been washed away along with their houses and belongings, but they have received little or no help from the government. As always, rescue operations are being carried out by the Pakistani army, which aided by NGOs and international organisations is also providing people with food, clothes and shelter.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 8 September, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.