Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with a US congressional delegation to enhance Pakistan’s relationship with the US. The delegation has come to Pakistan at a time when the country is facing the height of devastation due to massive floods that occurred this monsoon season. A large number of towns and villages, especially the less developed ones, have been razed to the ground. Even cities were not spared this time around as they are also partially submerged in water. The floods have affected over 33 million people, more than 1300 human lives have been lost and there has been extensive damage to agriculture, livestock, property and critical infrastructure. Millions of people are displaced and living in makeshift arrangements with poor sanitation facilities, surrounded by water. Not only do they lack proper living arrangements, but they are also at a high risk of developing water and vector-borne diseases. With no medical facilities around, many people may lose their lives to treatable diseases.
Much blame can be put on the lack of good governance and poor infrastructure for the damage that has taken place. However, the real culprit behind such large amounts of damage is climate change. Pakistan ranks amongst the top 10 most affected countries in long-term climate risks to little to no fault of its own. The country has one of the lowest carbon footprints when compared with other countries, yet the damage it is facing because of climate change is exponential. The country is facing the worst consequences of the climate crisis due to the actions of the developed world which produces a lot more carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses. The damage due to this year’s flood alone is set to hit $10 billion. The country is already facing economic challenges and with this added devastation, the future of Pakistan seems bleak.
Currently, Pakistan needs all the aid and help it can get from other countries. People are in need of rehabilitation and on humanitarian grounds, the world must come together to pick up the pieces as it is very much responsible for the extensive damage. Although Pakistan has been at the forefront of reforestation campaigns to reduce its already low carbon footprint, it had the hottest city on Earth, Jacobabad at 51 degrees Celsius in May 2022. It experienced forest fires, and melting glaciers and now has witnessed the worst flooding in living memory. The country is the epicentre of climate catastrophe to no fault of its own.
Developed countries of the world owe Pakistan and other developing countries reparations for the damage their excessive emissions have caused to the world. Due to the vast devastation that has taken place in the country, the world must cancel debts that Pakistan owes and give it climate compensation. Moreover, aid must be provided to rebuild, reconstruct and rehabilitate. Moreover, at COP27 this year, all countries must pledge to reduce their carbon footprint and help the countries that are most affected by their actions. The world is dying and it is all because of greedy corporations that only look toward making profits without thinking of the consequences their actions may have on people around the world.