Climate Change and Floods

From time immemorial, floods have been an annual occurrence in Indus Valley civilization. It is inevitable as gravity propels the rain water flow downhill. With time, the destruction caused by the monsoon showers has continuously become more disastrous, carrying away with it anything that comes its way. Climate change is fueling flooding in Pakistan and it has emerged as the deadliest climate induced disaster for the state. It is making flooding less natural and more disastrous. The frequency of heavy flooding is also increasing.

Climate change is not a new phenomenon. This is how the ice age met its demise. It is how mammoths came to an extinct. Ice-age helped homo-sapiens evolved into a civilised animal. By comparing the ice age, and the current age, we see a striking difference. We live in a world where modernity has reached its peak. According to the development model penned down by Rostow, we are at the age of consumption: the final stage of development. Our settlements, economy and livelihoods have now become a concrete jungle. We have built houses that we think will stand the quest of time. But that is far from the truth. Human society has become more fragile than ever.

We have deliberately altered the flow of rivers to construct dams and barrages. Consequently, when the water flows downhill it gathers momentum, and causes mass inundations of the villages in its vicinity. We have also obstructed the rainwater from getting absorbed into the earth. Instead, the rainwater that once helped to maintain the underground water level, now runs into the gutters and becomes unusable. 

Pakistan’s development model is focused in a few areas, while ignoring the larger chunks of society. It relies on heavy investments through foreign aids from abroad. Most of it is lost in corruption, and what’s left is used in constructing ill-fated roads, buildings etc. Pakistan’s development approach has mostly been top down, thinking development will trickle down to the lowest segment of the society. The top-down approach is uni-dimensional which does not cater to the needs of people living in mud houses, slums, villages, and rely on daily wages to survive. The floods are induced by climate change, and they are going to increase in strength. They will also become more costly for the government and its victims unless we adapt strict risk management strategies.




by Amna Sheikh


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top