Pakistan is currently experiencing one of the worst environmental disasters in the world. Pakistan's monsoon season usually brings heavy downpours, but this year has been the wettest since records began in 1961. Torrential monsoon rainfall – 10 times heavier than usual – has caused the Indus River to overflow, effectively creating long lake tens of kilometres wide. In the southern Sindh and Balochistan provinces, rainfall has been 500% above average as of August 30, submerging entire villages and farmland, razing buildings and wiping out crops. The Government estimates that around 33 million people across the country are affected by the rains, floods and impacts such as landslides, killing at least 1,700 people and destroying infrastructure, homes, agricultural land and livestock. More than 70 districts were declared "calamity hit" by the Government of Pakistan.
According to global media, Pakistan's flooding is a combination of corruption, mismanagement, and climate change. Corruption - Unauthorized construction, illegal changes in land use, and deforestation in flood-prone areas have exacerbated the risks of flooding in the country. Additionally, the large-scale exploitation of natural resources has undermined environmental sustainability. Population growth means more and more people live in flood-prone areas. Provincial irrigation departments have misused, and misdirected funds meant for flood protection. More straightforward issues—like the lack of maintenance of canals and waterways by local governments—have further obstructed water flows (Diplomatic Courier, Sep 2022). Mismanagement - When Pakistan talks about the extent of the destruction, it doesn't consider the element of mismanagement the whole nation is subject to at the moment. Nowadays flood is a kind of disaster which doesn't knock on your doors with surprise, and there is always sufficient information available before the flood. Kind of calamity was expected, alerts were issued, announcements were provided, danger zones were identified, and evacuations were forced; it means Pakistan was fully aware of the severity of expected floods. But the country still failed to save precious lives and remained unsuccessful in extending a quick response to the victims. Climate change - Human-caused climate change likely increased the intense rainfall that flooded large parts of Pakistan, according to rapid attribution analysis by an international team of leading climate scientists. Extreme rainfall in the region has increased 50-75% and some climate models suggest this increase could be entirely due to human-caused climate change, although there are considerable uncertainties in the results. Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of the world's planet-warming gases, yet it is the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis.
The tenth ICFM webinar will focus on lessons learned from the Pakistan flood of 2022. This 90-minute event will include two presentations of experts with Pakistan flood experience and provide the opportunity for discussion among ICFM participants from different parts of the world.
Slobodan P. Simonovic
ICFM Chairperson, Water Resources Specialist, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Western University, Canada
- Vimal Mishra
Professor, Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, India
Topic: The Pakistan flood in August 2022: causes and implications
- Sun Dongya
Professor, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, China
Topic: Challenges of flood management in Pakistan under new precipitation scenarios
Q & A session
Watch the playback here or click the link
Presentations can be accessed here:
Moderator: ZHANG Cheng, Chairperson of the Permanent ICFM Secretariat, IWHR
International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM)
China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR)
Permanent Secretariat of ICFM
Medcon Conference Service Platform (MEDCON)