What’s happening in Pakistan right now, a brief crisis explainer

Pakistani people wading through flood waters that reaches their waists. A gas service station is half submerged nearby under water that spans out across the entire town, into the horizon.
Floodwaters in the Dadu district of Sindh province. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty

Unprecedented floods

Pakistan is currently on the frontlines of the impact of climate change, with a third of the country under water due to relentless rains and flooding. Since June of this year the monsoon season has brought the heaviest rains on record, with rainfall being recorded at up to eight times its usual amount. News outlets are reporting approximately 1 million homes have been destroyed, displacing their occupants. Livelihoods have been lost as water has torn through 18,000 sq km of agricultural land. The damages so far are estimated to cost the country somewhere around $30billion, though the cost won’t truly be known until waters recede.

The human toll

The death toll of the floods is being reported at somewhere over 1500, though it is expected to rise – sadly children make up nearly half of the victims. With shortages in medicine supplies, and concerns over waterborne diseases, the people affected in Pakistan are in critical need of support. Makeshift camps have been set up to try and aid displaced residents and hospitals are reaching dire capacity. With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees celsius, and a lack of clean water, dangerous pathogens can easily spread. There’s huge concern over cholera, diarrhea and dysentery as well as cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever. As people flock to areas unaffected by flood there is likely to be shortages in fresh food, as well as contaminated drinking water and infected animals which authorities worry will contribute to the death toll.

Turning a blind eye to the climate crisis

Experts have warned of the effects human made emissions will have on global warming, yet world leaders continue to turn away from the facts. Natural disasters becoming more frequent in response to rising temperatures have long been foreshadowed. The first studies of these flash floods in Pakistan have concluded that man-made emissions have contributed to the disaster, as well as La Nina, melting glaciers, and hotter than usual summers drying out the land causing water to run off during heavy downpours. Pakistan contributes little to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, in fact less than 1% of the globe’s contributions, yet is listed in the top ten countries who will be impacted the most due to climate change. As richer nations continue to ignore their emissions targets (Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions produced by coal in the world, for example) they place the burden on more impoverished nations. We are seeing this play out in real time as Pakistan suffers.

What can we do to help?

Welcome Merchant, will be hosting the Pakistani Fundraiser Lunch on Sunday the 25th of September in Sydney.

We are incredibly lucky to be able to team up with Xinyi Lim from Megafauna to put together her next Family Meal – a fundraising meal project she started during the pandemic to raise money for charity. This time, a feast will be prepared for you by Mazaidar Foods, a well-known and popular Pakistani restaurant in North Parramatta.

The 3 course lunch will be served family-style, with vegetarian alternatives, and will include a welcome glass of Moondarra Lambrusco upon arrival (non-alcoholic option available) – see menu below. Guests are welcome to BYO, limited beverages will be sold. The event will be held at the beautiful community events space at Canva in Surry Hills.

Proceeds from this Family Meal will go to the EDHI Foundation in Pakistan, their flood relief teams are on the ground in all across flood-affected areas in Pakistan, providing relief assistance including cooked food, dry ration packs, tarpaulin sheets, medical aid & other non-food essentials.

You can buy your tickets here

Leave a Reply