Pakistan faces the risk of further flooding and more deaths after unusually heavy rains caused by climate change flooded a third of the country and killed more than 1,500 people.
Although water levels are beginning to drop in some areas, authorities fear heavy rainfall in parts of neighboring India could swell Pakistan’s major rivers. The provincial disaster relief authority has advised to evacuate people from some parts of Pakistan to prevent further loss of property and lives.
The rivers have not yet seen a rise in water levels, the Pakistan Meteorological Service website showed on Saturday.
The climate catastrophe in the South Asian nation — already teetering on depleted currency reserves and the highest inflation in decades — has caused $30 billion in damage and affected 33 million, more than Australia’s population. The country recently avoided default with the help of the International Monetary Fund. Bonds have hit their lowest level since mid-July, while the rupee is nearing a record low.
“The economic impact of the floods is a major concern for global investors,” said Abdul Kadir Hussain, head of fixed income assets at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd. follow the IMF loan, he said. In addition, political uncertainty persists in the country, Hussain said.
At a time when the country is struggling to provide aid to millions of people affected by flooding, the political atmosphere remains fraught. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan faced rare public criticism from the military after he accused the government of delaying elections until a new army chief is appointed. Mr Khan, who was impeached in April and is calling for early elections, is also facing multiple legal challenges that put at risk of street protests.
The focus remains on the disaster. Scientists say that due to climate change, peak rainfall in Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces has been 75% more intense than in a world without warming. A heat wave in India and Pakistan earlier this year, also fueled by climate change, exacerbated the flooding, according to World Weather Attribution, a scientific group studying the link between extreme weather events and climate change.
The Indian weather bureau is forecasting monsoon rains in some parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir until Tuesday. Nevertheless, the overall situation in Pakistan is improving. Some areas should be free from flooding within two to three weeks, but it could take up to three months in some places, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s office said in a response to Bloomberg’s questions.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)