AHD working in rural communities since May 19, 1999 during the cyclone hit costal area of Thatta & Badin. The cyclone knocked more than 300 villages scattered in the entire coastal zone of Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts, sweeping makeshift shelters, in which 450 people were killed. At least 15000 houses were damaged by the stormy winds and high tides, pushing people to shift their families on different directions and stayed there for several days.
Through the devastating cyclone and sea intrusion AHD volunteers learn lesson to start climate change and disaster mitigation activities in coastal area of Jati district Thatta.
At present Pakistan facing global warming, consecutive disasters, floods, earthquake, cyclone and sea intrusion in coastal areas, the impact of global warming on Pakistan is huge.
GLOBAL WARMING AND PAKISTAN
Global warming ravaging the whole planet, annihilating entire villages and towns, and financially crippling the affected regimes. Global warming has emerged as one of the biggest threats to our planet in this century. It has been proved that due to the increase of the GHG‟s in our outer atmosphere, the earth‟s temperature has warmed by 0.74 degree Celsius over the last 100 years. This has resulted in a devastating disruption of the earth‟s climatic processes, leading to floods, famines, droughts and cyclones among other natural disasters.
IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON PAKISTAN
Pakistan is an autonomous country that occupies a strategic location in South Asia, with a wide variety of landscapes. On the southern side, the country has a coastline border of 1046 km along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman while the northern side exhibits the awesome glaciated mountains that attract mountain climbers from all over the world.
The major portion of the Pakistani land is dry and barren, mainly because of the great variability in the climatic parameters. The major water resource of Pakistan is the melting snow from the Himalayan glaciers, as well the heavy monsoon rainfalls.
RECENT CLIMATIC CATASTROPHES IN PAKISTAN
Pakistan ranks 16th on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) by Maple Croft, jumping up 13 positions in one year. German watch also places Pakistan as the “most affected” country for 2010 and in top 10 for 1990-2010 by climatic changes. Climate changes are costing the economy $14 billion a year, which is almost 5% of the GDP. According to the Asian Development Bank, more than 10 million people have been displaced in Pakistan over the last 2 years due to these climate related disasters.
Given below is a brief summary of the recent disastrous climatic changes in Pakistan
Pakistan’s economy has been crippled heavily by devastating and repetitive floods during the last decade. In the past 10 years, Pakistan has been hit by floods almost every year. However, the floods of 2010 and 2011 have emerged as the biggest catastrophes in the country’s history.
Melting of glaciers
The flood of 2010 remains as one of the biggest tragedies in the world’s history, with 20 million people affected by it. The floods resulted in approximately 1,781 deaths, injured 2,966 people and destroyed more than 1.89 million homes.
Although nowhere near the 2010 floods, the 2011 floods also wreaked havoc, and affected 5.3 million people and 1.2 million homes in Sind, as well as inundating 1.7 million acres of arable land.
A Drought is a period of abnormally dry weather due to the lack of rainfall. The chief characteristic of a drought is a decrease of water availability in a particular period and over a particular area.
Pakistan’s economy has been punched heavily by the continuous spell of droughts for the last many years, particularly in the provinces of Baluchistan and Sind. The drought in these areas has reduced the river flows, resulting in drying up of the irrigation canals, leading to a severe agricultural deprivation. It has also been responsible for causing immense losses to poultry and other animals, causing a general deficiency of food and water for people. The increased temperatures because of the increased GHGs as well as a mismanagement of the water reservoirs need to be blamed for the condition.
INCREASING FREQUENCY OF CYCLONES
Tropical cyclones are also a dreaded characteristic of the climate in various parts of Pakistan. As a result of global warming, the frequency of Cyclones has increased over the Arabian Sea during the last 50 years. Moreover, the intensity of these cyclones has also increased during the last quarter of the 20th century. Strong tropical activity in the Arabian sea in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2011 shows an increasing trend towards more cyclones, indicating that there are bright chances that future cyclones can directly strike mega metropolis cities like Karachi and kill thousands of people and may change the way these cities used to live.
Past 100 years ravaging sea continues to engulf the surrounding land, and consumes 80 acres a day on an average. Six subdivisions of Thatta, which were previously considered extremely prosperous due to extensive agriculture, are now amongst the poorest parts of the country due to the engulfment by the sea.
Pakistan, which is an already resource stressed country, has been crippled by the process of global warming, as the blatant floods and droughts continue to wreck the country‟s economy. More than 10 million people have been displaced over the last two years, the agricultural land lies barren and financial losses have been estimated at $2 billion.
These climatic catastrophes will not die down. Research studies have concluded that changing weather patterns will be the foundation for more intense and prolonged droughts and heat waves. Meanwhile, tremendous precipitation events will become more frequent and future tropical cyclones will become stronger.
Therefore there is a growing consensus that steps will have to be taken to uproot the cause of these events. In addition to the formation of well thought flood and drought prevention policies, steps to reduce the overall emission of green house gases have to be taken so that the planet Earth and its inhabitants can survive.
AHD efforts towards climate change and disaster mitigation:
- Capacity building of drought hit communities through formation of 540 male and female self help groups in coastal area of Sindh Pakistan
- Plantation of 100,000 forest & fruit trees in coastal area in more than 5,000 families since 1999 to till a date.
- Facilitation of the training on AHD model cooking stove for women to have 50% decreases in wood brining & about 36,000 families using FES cooking stove and saving daily 180,000 kg of wood from burning.
- Disaster awareness promotion in rural communities