University of Nottingham student, Muhammed spent the summer in his home country of Pakistan. While he was there, the country was facing monsoon rains causing extreme floods and leaving many towns in ruins. Now, millions are left suffering with loss, famine and homelessness. Impact’s Esme Mckenzie sat down with Muhammad to discuss the impact of these horrific floods.
As the tragedy unfolded Muhammed and his family would “switch the tv on at night and hear about the villagers that were suffering.” Unable to help, he and his family could only watch as people’s homes were destroyed. Though the floods are severe and vast, “thankfully the devastation hasn’t made its way to the main cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore,” leaving him “relieved and grateful that my family is safe and doing well in one of the main cities.”
With the death toll at around 1,717, roughly 33 million people have been affected by floods
In other areas of the country, particularly in the southern districts of Sindh and Balochistan, floods have submerged the areas leaving citizens with nothing. With the death toll at around 1,717, over 33 million people have been affected by floods.
Muhammed feels that the West has not fully comprehended the scale of the floods, “They hear that 33 million people are afflicted, it’s hard to process until you realise the entire population of London is around 9 million.”
The Prime Minister’s views resonate with Muhammed’s own, as he also feels his country has been neglected
Little aid has been given to Pakistan with Shehbaz Sharif, the current Prime Minister of Pakistan, saying that his country should not have to take a “begging bowl” to wealthier countries. The Prime Minister’s views resonate with Muhammed’s own, as he also feels his country has been neglected. “I don’t think prejudice is the key element but naturally it goes without saying that any European country, to which England feels a greater affiliation with, if they were to experience even a tenth of Pakistan’s current circumstances, they would receive a lot more attention.”
The Prime Minister of Pakistan has called for “climate justice” blaming the sheer scale of the floods on climate change. After recent political turmoil in Pakistan, Muhammed is relieved to have a leader who “genuinely recognises the threat of climate change.” Pakistan contributes to less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but is among the 10 countries that will suffer most from climate change.
Much of the younger population of Pakistan “strongly distrusts” the new government
Despite the activism of the Prime Minister, Muhammed admits that he and much of the younger population of Pakistan “strongly distrusts” the new government. “It’s quite a well understood idea in the country that most of the financial assistance comes from fundraising from overseas Pakistani Organisations like Islamic Relief”, not from the Pakistani government.
Though Muhammed recognises that the extreme floods are a product of climate change, he says it’s not a widely held view. “Funnily enough that does not really seem to be the issue here. The floods aren’t really reported as being the outcome of climate change, but over lack of infrastructure, specifically things like dams and reservoirs.”
Muhammed considers himself fortunate
Muhammed considers himself fortunate to have been “raised in the city where floods really haven’t been too much of a problem.” Though he recalls that “often when I visit my family in one of the villages in the north, they have incidents which cause the bottom floor of their house to be flooded.”
With incidents like these becoming increasingly severe, Muhammed fears both his family and his home are becoming increasingly more vulnerable.
Featured image courtesy of Hamid Roshaan via Unsplash Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
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