Pakistan’s Floods Remain Pakistan’s Price

Trisha Phan, Lifestyle Editor

Since mid-June, catastrophic flooding caused by severe monsoons in Pakistan has resulted in a death toll of over 1,500, with a third of the country underwater. The flood affected 33 million people, displacing 7.6 million, with many living in temporary shelters and at risk for waterborne diseases. 


Although the intensity of these monsoons would devastate any country, Pakistan in particular was vulnerable to the dramatic 190 percent increase in rain due to a lack of flood defenses. The flooding is undeniably linked to climate change — Pakistan’s glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate and warmer air caused by greenhouse gasses is linked to intense rainfall, according to the New York Times.


Climate change is heavily influenced by developed countries as the richest nations have contributed the most heat-trapping emissions. For instance, the U.S., China, and Russia combine for 38 percent of global cumulative carbon dioxide emitted since 1850, according to Carbon Brief. In comparison, Pakistan comprises less than one percent of global greenhouse gasses.


As developing countries bear the brunt of industrialized countries’ greenhouse emissions, those richer nations require more responsibility placed on them by international institutions.


Developing countries suffer from the lack of preventative resources or the ability to provide adequate support for their citizens, increasing their vulnerability to subsequent catastrophes. These countries end up paying the highest price for a global issue that other countries had a greater hand in causing. These countries end up paying the highest price for a global issue that other countries had a greater hand in causing.


To recover, developing countries end up relying on charity from developed countries, but a 2022 report from humanitarian group Oxfam shows only about 54 percent of appeals for relief due to extreme weather were funded on average. For Pakistan in particular, flood damage is estimated to cost at least $10 billion. The United Nations issued an appeal for $160 million and the U.S. provided $30 million, but it will not be nearly enough to pay for adequate relief.


At the 2021 Glasgow U.N. climate conference, developing countries’ negotiators argued for a formal loss-and-damage fund to reliably provide money to countries affected by climate disasters, rather than have them dependent on charity. More pressure would be placed on developed countries to make conscious efforts to address climate change. However, the U.S. has demonstrated resistance over fears of liability.


As the effects of climate change are becoming more apparent around the world, accountability becomes crucial for the fate of other countries. For instance, rising sea levels force villages in Fiji to relocate in addition to causing catastrophic crop failures for farming communities in West Africa, according to National Public Radio


Ultimately, global warming has ramifications for everyone — it’s just a matter of severity and time.