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Pakistan’s monster monsoon

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August 30, 2022

Why in news?

Pakistan is facing one of the worst floods in its recent history.

What is the super flood of 2010?

  • Flooding of the Indus River in Pakistan in late July and August 2010 led to a humanitarian disaster which is considered to be one of the worst in Pakistan’s history.
  • The floods affected approximately 20 million people.
  • Record monsoon rains began to fall in Pakistan’s mountainous northwest region, causing flash floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces.

What is the status of the current floods?

  • The regions of Sindh and Baluchistan, comprising the western half of Pakistan, have been badly hit, although Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa too have been affected.
  • Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority claimed nearly 33 million people, about 15% of the country’s population, had been affected by the floods.
  • About 110 of the 150 districts in the country are affected by the flooding.
  • Pakistan’s meteorological department warned that the Kabul River, is in a very high flood level.

“Kabul River originates in Afghanistan and flows through the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and joins a tributary of the Indus River.”

What is the raining pattern in Pakistan?

  • The current flood is a direct result of an extremely wet monsoon season this year.
  • The same southwest monsoon that brings the bulk of India’s annual rainfall causes rain in Pakistan as well.
  • The monsoon season in Pakistan, however, is a little shorter than in India.
  • That is because the rain-bearing monsoon winds take time to travel northward from India into Pakistan.
  • The official monsoon season in Pakistan begins on July 1 and extends until September, although most of the rainfall happens during the months of July and August.
  • The active rainfall season is only one and a half months.
  • The normal rainfall for Pakistan as a whole during this three-month monsoon season is 140 mm.
  • Since the season is quite short, there is a wide variation in the monsoon rainfall every year.
  • Current Season: Pakistan has already received 354.3 mm of rain, more than three times the normal of 113.7 mm.

What is the situation in India?

  • The rainfall situation in Pakistan has been quite different from that of India so far, though incidents of extreme rainfall and flooding have happened here as well.
  • In August, India has received rainfall that is barely 6 per cent more than the normal.
  • For the entire season so far, the country has received 7 per cent more than normal rainfall.
  • However, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand experienced torrential rainfall, triggering landslides and flash floods.
  • Since, India is such a huge country, the overall numbers hide marked variations at the regional and local levels.
  • In August, central India, comprising mainly Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, has received 26% excess rainfall.

What is the future?

  • It is clear that the climate crisis is supercharging the toll of extreme weather across the globe.
  • The population of Pakistan is especially at risk from extreme weather driven by the climate emergency.
  • The country is ranked eighth most at risk in the world by the Global Climate Risk Index.

 

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/explained-pakistan-under-water-catastrophic-floods-8116181/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/29/monster-monsoon-why-the-floods-in-pakistan-are-so-devastating
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