Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is experiencing extreme torrential rain and flash flooding causing a multitude of public services and businesses to close down over safety concerns. Infrastructural damage and flooding has left at least 15 individuals dead since this weekend.
This past Sunday, Karachi experienced 2.3 inches of rain, which is equivalent to the average of an entire month’s worth of rainfall for the area. Every summer Pakistan endures heavy monsoon rains, but more recently experts have been warning that climate change is accelerating and intensifying existing weather patterns.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate change minister, issued flash flood warnings for citizens in more than 14 cities and townships.
“Since the monsoon season began last month more than 300 people have been killed by heavy rains across Pakistan,” according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority.
The 16 million residents of Karachi have witnessed entire neighborhoods become partially submerged from flooding. Photos from the area show individuals knee-deep in muddy flood water with vehicles left completely stranded and submerged.
“Infrastructure including bridges, highways and roads have been damaged, disrupting traffic and upending the lives of millions across the city. Many have stocked up on fuel for their generators in case of power outages,” said Afia Salam, a climate change advocate in Karachi.
“Climate change is a threat. We are a coastal city. It’s happening so fast and we will bear the brunt. People need to see the situation beyond individual events like a bridge falling or a road getting flooded.”
“The rapidity of these events is increasing and our response is not keeping pace. We are being reactive to individual events. Strategies need to be put in place, the poorest and most vulnerable are on the front line of the crisis,” said Salam.
“Karachi, the country’s financial capital, boasts luxury hotels, malls and upmarket gated communities. But disparities in wealth and development remain, and an estimated 50% of its residents are forced to live in informal settlements,” according to the World Bank.
“Karachi’s infrastructure is highly vulnerable to climate-related disasters,” according to the World Bank.
Experts are stating that the climate crisis in Pakistan is also being exacerbated by poor flood management and ineffective disaster response.
Extreme weather events in South Asia are becoming more frequent due to climate change, with temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan reaching record highs during a heat wave in April and May.
According to a 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they had “medium confidence that heat waves and humidity stress would become more intense and frequent, and annual and summer monsoon precipitation will increase.”
According to the IPCC India and Pakistan are among the countries that are expected to be the most affected by climate change.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.