In August 2022, the Pakistani Government declared a state of national emergency. What prompted this was the deadly floodwaters that had begun ravaging the nation since June. At that point, nearly 1,000 people had died, bridges and highways had collapsed, villages and buildings had washed away, and recue efforts were in full swing.
In just a matter of weeks, Pakistan soon experienced the deadliest flood in living memory.
In this article, we will unpack the question ‘what caused Pakistan floods?’ and outline what you can do to help the survivors.
How bad were the 2022 floods in Pakistan?
The 2022 floods were the worst natural disaster that Pakistan has ever experienced, just as the 2010 floods were in the South Asian country.
So unprecedented was the monsoon rainfall, that one third of the country- equivalent to the whole of Spain– is still submerged in water.
The flooding has:
- displaced tens of thousands of people and forced them to flee their homes and neighbourhoods.
- damaged hospitals, clinics, schools, places of worship and sanitation facilities.
- left millions of people without their incomes, livelihoods and assets.
- killed herds of livestock and washed away entire crop fields, depriving people of their agricultural income.
- caused the spread of dangerous diseases including malaria, cholera, dengue fever and dysentery.
- polluted water supply lines and water sources, forcing people to drink contaminated water.
- resulted in high inflation, which is disproportionately impacting the poor.
- caused financial damages of around $14.9 billion.
- hiked up food prices.
- exacerbated the hunger crisis.
- increased people’s susceptibility to snake bites and scorpion stings.
As you can see, the 2022 floods have had extremely devastating consequences across Pakistan.
What caused Pakistan floods?
So, what were the factors what caused Pakistan floods?
- Torrential monsoon rains
The continent of South Asia is prone to excessive rainfall during the monsoon season. But Pakistan is particularly susceptible to recurring floods.
From June 2022, Pakistan experienced extremely severe rains during its annual monsoon season. Having received almost triple its average rainfall from June to August, this was the wettest monsoon on record.
This ‘monster’ monsoon rainfall caused flash flooding and deadly landslides across Pakistan, with the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan being the worst hit.
With all this heavy, constant rainfall, the River Indus, which runs through Pakistan, eventually burst its banks. Consequently, the water levels in Pakistan rose to dangerously high levels.
This non-stop rainfall has wreaked havoc across Pakistan, having damaged and washed away dams, buildings, roads, crops and livestock.
- The global climate crisis
The scale and magnitude of the 2022 floods in Pakistan can also be attributed to climate change.
Climate scientists have suggested that human-caused climate change helped drive the 2022 floods in Pakistan. In fact, climate change may have boosted 5-day rainfall amounts in the hardest-hit areas of Pakistan by up to 50%. This means that the natural disaster may not have been so catastrophic, without the impact of climate change.
Pakistan is responsible for a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, yet the country is one of the worst affected by climate change and rapidly shifting weather patterns. For example, due to climate change, the monsoon has changed its traditional passage and is getting more severe each year.
As more carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, due to human activities, this leads to global warming. The climate change crisis disproportionately affects Pakistan, as the ongoing global warming has caused the average annual temperature in Pakistan to increase by about 0.5°C since 1970.
As you can see, the global climate crisis has worsened the flooding in Pakistan and made it even more vulnerable to worse flooding in the future.
- Melting glaciers in the Himalayas, which added more water to rivers, streams and the land
Floods in Pakistan start in the mountains, and as when the glaciers melt, the water flows down and add more water to rivers and streams which are already swollen from heavy rainfall.
In 2022, the extreme heatwaves brought soaring, record-breaking temperatures, as high as 49.5 °C in Pakistan. This caused many of its glaciers to melt rapidly. Shortly afterwards, the nation began experiencing torrential monsoon rains.
The torrential monsoon rains then caused these ice dams to break and burst, which increased the volume of water submerging the land. These glacial lake outbursts worsened the flash flooding, as they caused more buildings, villages and infrastructure to be washed away.
Hence, melting glaciers exacerbated the flooding in Pakistan. As the earth gets hotter and hotter, glaciers are shrinking further. This is a huge global threat, as melting glaciers add more water to the earth’s oceans and cause rivers to swell.
This can lead to the destruction of habitats and extreme weather conditions, such as flooding, heatwaves and even drought.
That is why melting glaciers is one of the clearest and most visible signs of the climate crisis.
- Insufficient defenses
The excessive amount of rainfall that fell in Pakistan in the year 2022 would have been overwhelming for any country to cope with. But Pakistan lacked the adequate infrastructure and flood defenses to contain the destructive floodwaters.
Over the years, the country has implemented many flood protection measures, to mitigate the impact of natural disasters. However, there simply aren’t enough of these measures altogether, especially in the worst-hit regions such as Sindh and Balochistan.
Since the floods, the Pakistani government is now working on new flood management plans and rebuilding the infrastructure to help contain deadly natural disasters.
Pakistan is one of the leading countries which is most susceptible to severe floods in the future- in fact, by the year 2030, around 2.7 million people could be affected annually by river-floods.
Hence, flood defense and management is something that the Pakistan government urgently needs to prioritise, as the nation will be susceptible to more flash flooding, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions in the future.
How is Zohra Foundation helping people affected by the floods in Pakistan?
As you can see, Pakistan urgently requires humanitarian aid. It is a low-income, developing nation which is striving to lift people out of poverty and difficult financial circumstances.
But, Pakistan can’t do this alone. The vulnerable people in Pakistan desperately need financial assistance, to repair their lives, following the devastating floods of 2022.
The floods have left thousands of people in a state of misery, despair and hopelessness. With no shelter, food, clean water, adequate sanitation or medical care, these people have little chance of surviving this crisis.
Our team is currently on the ground in Pakistan, distributing aid such as cooked meals, clean water, kitchen utensils, medicines, tents and hygiene kits, to help people recover from this devastating natural disaster. We have also started rebuilding homes, to offer shelter, safety and comfort to people who have been displaced during this tragedy.
How can I help people affected by the 2022 floods in Pakistan?
Click here to donate to Zohra Foundation’s Pakistan Flood appeal today– every penny helps.
We are grateful for every donation we receive. Your donations are funding the essential supplies that so many vulnerable people urgently need at this moment, after a natural disaster wrecked their lives.
Will my donation to Zohra Foundation count as Zakat?
Yes. All projects at Zohra Foundation are Zakat eligible. In the last six years, we have saved the lives of thousands of vulnerable people across Pakistan through our free medical treatment and sponsorship programmes.
You can choose to make a one-off donation or donate on a monthly basis.
In a Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was asked what the best deeds are. He said: “To bring happiness to a believer, to satisfy his hunger, to clothe his nakedness, or to fulfill his needs.”
This beautiful Hadith shows you the importance of giving to charity- it allows you to earn great rewards, increase blessings in your life, and safeguard yourself on the Day of Resurrection.
Sadaqah Jariyah (continuous charity) is also an act which is very pleasing to God. The Messenger of Allah said: “When a man dies, all his good deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him.”
Therefore, Sadaqah Jariyah is an excellent way to reap countless rewards for years to come. It is a truly impactful gesture, as it makes a huge difference for vulnerable communities.
Your Sadaqah Jariyah can help support multiple generations of a needy family, to help with their health, hunger and hygiene needs.
By supporting Zohra Foundation as part of your Sadaqah or Zakat, you will be saving the life of someone in need and fulfilling your Islamic duty to care for elders and the poor.
Click here to view the Zakat Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and find out more.
Zohra Foundation is a London-based, UK-registered charity organization that aims to improve the lives of millions of orphans, widows and the elderly throughout Pakistan and respond to emergencies in other parts of the world.
Our team is currently delivering emergency relief across Pakistan, following the devastating 2022 floods.
All projects at Zohra Foundation are Zakat eligible. You can choose to make a one-off donation or donate on a monthly basis.
Donate to Zohra Foundation’s Pakistan Flood appeal here.
To learn more about Zohra Foundation, visit the website here.
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We hope this article has helped you better understand what caused Pakistan floods in 2022.
Honouring the forgotten elderly with dignity.
Providing urgent medical care, food and shelter to the elderly in Pakistan.