Flooded areas of Pakistan look as though an ocean has deposited itself there. Hardly any land visible for the population to cling to whilst they await rescue.
Scientists have long since explained why this has been progressively worsening over the past 50 years. This article lists the unique factors that make the Indus Valley so likely to be made uninhabitable:
Pakistan has more than 7,000 glaciers. They are melting due to ? – yes, we all know, accelerated production of greenhouse gases. There is no heavy industry in Pakistan to contribute to greenhouse gases. Their carbon footprint is relatively low compared to major greenhouse gas emitters. They all know who they are, and none are moving fast enough to make a big enough dent in their outputs to stop the warming and consequential melting, of the glaciers.
See where your country scores in the list of Co2 emitters:
The Shisper Glacier is above the Hassanabad Hunza which is threatened by this ever growing glacier which is moving toward the population. See the article on the subject.
Above them the vast Shisper glacier dominates the landscape: A river of jagged black ice moving towards them at as much as four metres per day.
Climate change is causing most glaciers worldwide to shrink, but due to a meteorological anomaly this is one of a few in the Karakoram mountain range in northern Pakistan that are surging.
This means hundreds of tonnes of ice and debris are pushing down the valley at ten times the normal rate or more, threatening the safety of the people and homes below.
Flash floods caused by glacial lakes, ice and rock falls, and a lack of clean and accessible water are all serious risks for those close to its path.
“When a glacial lake bursts there is an enormous amount of not only ice, water and debris that falls through, but also mud and this has devastating effects, it basically destroys everything that comes in its way,” said Ignacio Artaza of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Pakistan.
Earlier this year, after warnings something like this might happen, the Hassanabad Hunza bridge collapsed due to terrible flooding. See the article about it.
The location of the Hassanabad Bridge was very important and it was a vital link between the northern areas of Pakistan and the rest of the country. This bridge was first constructed in 1972 and it connects Shinaki Hunza with Karimabad Hunza. This bridge was the only main source which connects Gilgit Baltistan with China via Karakoram highway. In Hassanabad, Karakoram Highway passes over a side stream of the Hunza River which is fed from the Shishpar Glacier, located about 10km above Hassanabad. It was over the Hunza River’s tributary, between Aliabad and Murtazabad. The local authorities have started rehabilitation work and a temporary bridge will be installed soon. (see Aug 10th 2022 https://youtu.be/SfgBIUk376A)
There are YouTubes of this amazing mountain range in the Himalayas. Comments by travellers such as “The much renowned Hunza valley is often referred to as heaven on earth, enveloped in the grand Himalayas and the Karakoram mountain ranges, this place has been a great tourist attraction for many years. There are spectacular views of Rakaposhi mountain (7788 meters).” July 2017.
Those of us in rich industrialized nations have inflicted this on some of the poorest people in the world. Yet our leaders tell us we will continue to grow more wealthy. We are tied in to running on the wheel which must reward investors first before we can consider decreasing the temperature of an ever warming climate. The more we compete to be bigger and stronger economies, the greater the death knell sounds for whole countries which suffer outright calamitous weather impacts as a result. No amount of aid we might muster for Pakistan will restore its natural rhythm of agriculture it once boasted throughout the centuries.
Industry behaves in a cavalier way ever since shareholders were legally given first rights on all profits. Thus investors pour funds into anything which promises rewarding returns, even if the outcome is anti life on earth.
Since the early 2000s, dire warnings of the looming disaster for countries with melting glaciers were clearly articulated by scientists and those who trekked and climbed mountainous regions. Monsoons in Pakistan grew mightier, until July 2022, when the rains were relentless and monstrous by August. Images of desperate farmers trying to rescue their family members, often unable to as the flooding became so treacherous it swept everything away before it.
The historic Indus River, rising in Tibet, the Indus crosses through India and Pakistan fed by a multitude of tributaries before it reaches the Arabian Sea. The signs of ancient civilisations which tourists travelled to see were The Indus Valley Civilisation, also known Indus civilisation, was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.Wikipedia
Harappan civilization people built “levees” to control floods. It is obvious that Indus river would flood often.
Levees are raised platforms or earthfills.
In India there are examples of how the ancient Harappans coped with flood waters with engineering works.
There are many articles about the glaciers melting in Pakistan.. One here entitled ‘Hell and ice water: Glacier melt threatens Pakistan’s future’ was written in January 2020. The authors point out the Indus Basin supplies 90 percent of the food for Pakistan. Farming depends on irrigation from the river, which heavily relies on meltwater from the ice sheets. The ice sheets no longer provide timely water flows, farming will be impossible in the Basin.
The farmers have just lost everything they produced. The country is already in debt, just getting an IMF grant through which should have helped the country pre-flooding. It is $1.3 million. It is estimated Pakistan will now need $100 billion if it is to rebuild its infrastructure. But how do you put back the soil lost, how do you give back livelihoods, how do you bring back lives lost?
Approximately 26.5 million out of 221.8 million Pakistani citizens live below the national poverty line,
After the 1947 partition of British India, the development of infrastructure in Pakistan grew and has made steady progress in the last five decades. According to the World Bank Group, however, this rate of improvement has also been “among the slowest for the majority of public infrastructure sectors.” Further, this rate of improvement has failed to ameliorate infrastructure conditions for Pakistani citizens and disproportionately hurt the poor in the country.
In the mid-1950s, investments in infrastructure and heavy industry were accompanied by an agricultural revolution in a fertile Pakistan that even a richer India could not surpass. Despite being a nascent state, Pakistan successfully created its state institutions and industries from scratch. This was done against the specter of a well-off India with a greater share of urban population and established infrastructure. For a variety of social reasons combined with political turmoil, the economic tides soon took a turn for the worse as income contracted, inequality rose and inflation swallowed the most vulnerable – the poor – in Pakistan. – See Article.
On many occasions, the dire state of the country’s economy stifled project implementation, which suffered yet another balance of payments crisis in 2018, as well as by government bureaucracy. Thus, the construction of a power plant in Gwadar, a Pakistani port located in the province of Baluchistan and leased to Chinese companies, experienced a three-year delay, awaiting local government authorization.
In 2019, China gave Pakistan $1 billion to cover the costs of 27 projects in education, agriculture and poverty alleviation. Most of these projects are concentrated in Southern Punjab and Baluchistan, which scored few points on the Human Development Index and correspondingly have many impoverished villages.
The idea that a recovery plan will ever emerge to save Pakistan seems far off. They have appealed for international help, and small amounts of aid packages are arriving. But this area is not in a politically strong position, despite its nuclear weapons.
Earthquakes are also a major issue. Building infrastructure to withstand monster monsoons and moderate to strong earthquakes is not going to be easy with worsening climate change impacts such as excessive heatwaves and droughts.
So who will feed the 221 million population without their high output farming community supplying the food in the flooded Indus Valley? The Global Food Crisis is already extreme in countries who depend on other nations to help with food aid. Where will the homeless restart their lives? Will those who invest expect far more back than Pakistan can afford to give?
Sindh Province is particularly badly impacted:
As the horror of this tragedy continues a freshwater lake breaching and out of control, back in 2010 this happened too: