Catastrophic Flood: Pakistan Underwater

Alizah Hashmi and Alishbaa Karim

Several feet of water. Thousands of lives lost. Thousands more injured and displaced. Homes overcome and destroyed, multistory hotels diminished into muddy debris and a country left vulnerable at the hands of mother nature. 


Right now, there is a tragedy occurring in Karachi and Islamabad, Pakistan. Due to the melting glaciers and monsoon rains flooding the South Asian nation, thousands of people have been displaced. The farms have been destroyed, which is causing starvation.  Pakistan is suffering the worst monsoon floods in its history. Intense, non-stop rain since June has destroyed the already underdeveloped land. The third-world country has long maintained a  low GDP, a corrupt government, extreme inflation and 70% of its population living in poverty. It stands no chance against any minor disaster, especially not the current monstrous floods.   


What started off as a few inches of rain in early June, advanced into several feet of rain almost daily in August. Poorly constructed dams and aqueducts made to prevent water from reaching population hotspots were immediately compromised due to the rushing water wearing through  the rock. The ‘monster’ quickly reached the mainland and accumulated due to the lack of a proper universal drainage system. The provinces of Pakistan (Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) are very different in their structure and composition. However, Sindh, having many major cities with large buildings and structures, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, being mostly rural and composed of individual tribes and clans, were equally affected. Whether it be large, concrete multistory buildings or houses made of mud or bamboo, these structures have no competition against 8-12 feet of water. 


According to the National Disaster Management Authority, at least 1,208 people have been killed, including 416 children. 33 million people have been affected by the floods. During a Geneva press briefing, UNICEF Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil said, “There is now a high risk of water-borne, deadly diseases spreading rapidly – – diarrhoea, cholera, dengue, malaria. There is therefore a risk of many more child deaths.” The military said that it has evacuated about 50000 people since rescue efforts began.


Thousands of lives have been swept away in the intense, rushing flood. The rest are left stranded and injured on any sliver of land that is left uncovered. Families are forcibly separated and left to wonder about the fates of their loved ones. Were they able to overcome the contaminated waters or did they succumb to the grappling whirlpool? Given the nature of the poverty-stricken population and the unforeseen arrival of the floods, emergency and medical services were not able to be contacted and people were left to deal with their situations on their own. Additionally, emergency and medical services cannot even reach those who have contacted them due to major roads, highways, and bridges being swallowed by the ravaging pool.


Pakistan has declared a national emergency and has reached out to the international community for aid. The response has been rapid. According to CNN, the U.N. donated approximately $160 million to provide Pakistani citizens with food, water, and proper medical attention. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also agreed to provide $30 million worth of assistance for damage of the floods. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are donating billions of dollars, along with food and humanitarian supplies. Rescue efforts have been continuing and charities are donating to help people who have been displaced or become ill. 


Pakistan cannot do this alone. The land has been so obliterated that any internal efforts are floundering. It is up to the international community to come together to help their fellow component from this disaster that reflects the state of our planet.