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The Death Toll in Pakistan Surpasses 1,000 Due to Unprecedented Floods

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

One-third of Pakistan is underwater following an intense heatwave and record monsoon rains. Scientists attribute the extreme weather to several smaller weather events, which have displaced roughly 33 million people and caused at least 1,343 deaths. Over 500 thousand currently reside in relief camps across the country and officials fear the worst has yet to come.

Record heatwaves with temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius and 104 degrees Fahrenheit have melted the glaciers in the northern mountain regions, increasing the amount of water entering the Indus river. The heatwaves conceded to an intense depression, a system of low air pressure that brought heavy rains to the region. Pakistan’s geography makes it incredibly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather; level plains and seasonal monsoons contributed to extensive flooding in years past. One clear player in both the 2010 and 2022 disasters is La Nina, a weather phenomenon that refers to cooler than normal ocean surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific ocean, causing heavy monsoons in Asia. An early monsoon caused by La Nina produced roughly three times Pakistan’s average annual rainfall for the monsoon period.

Once on land, most of this water has nowhere to go. More than 1.2 million houses, two million acres of crops and 5,000 kilometers of road have been destroyed. The country is typically prepared to respond to monsoons with water pumps and helicopters, but officials now have nowhere to pump water as it is everywhere and cannot send helicopters to certain areas due to incessant rain.

Pakistan’s minister for climate change stated that an area bigger than the state of Colorado is currently submerged, with entire towns underwater. She continues saying this is beyond anything she has ever witnessed, including Pakistan’s super flood in 2010. Officials have stated a little over a quarter of a million people are in shelters, a small fraction of those who need help. All three branches of Pakistan’s military have been deployed but the government is overstretched. Damaged infrastructure is impeding aid and rescue operations, which cannot currently keep up with demand.

The floods have only exacerbated the effects of COVID-19, further damaging thousands of vulnerable and deprived communities. The compounding effects of the pandemic are making it difficult for humanitarian organizations to immediately address and respond to those in need. Child mortality rates are likely to rise due to the unavailability of clean water and cramped living conditions.

Many civilian volunteers have stepped forward, working on the frontlines to conduct rescue operations and deliver emergency relief. These volunteer groups have also been helping to mobilize people in communities who are trying to reach affected areas. Pakistan is receiving aid from multiple countries: The United Kingdom recently announced £15 million in humanitarian support to help Pakistan’s flood response, the United States pledged long-term support and $30 million in aid, and Turkey has continually provided military assistance and are prepared for “advanced support.” The United Nations and Pakistan jointly issued an appeal for $160 million in emergency funding and continue to look for international aid as the death toll increases and citizens face the aftermath of this extreme weather event.

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I am pre-med and enjoy spending my free time writing. I love to roller skate, hike, and try local cuisine. I am always open to a good movie or music recommendation.