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Forget the Queen, one-third of Pakistan is still submerged in water
“This wasn't just nature taking its course. This was, unfortunately, a climate-induced flood."
While world leaders are gathered in London to mourn the death of a 96-year-old figurehead, one-third of Pakistan remains underwater.
The catastrophic floods, which as of writing have killed more than 1,500 people and impacted 33 million, were the product of a severe monsoon and melting glaciers — a deadly combination resulting from the climate crisis.
The severest impacts of the flooding occurred in the the southern provinces of Balochistan and Sindh, and the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“We have been sitting here for 15 days with no help. We have no money, no daily work, and no way to feed our families”, Ellahi Buksh, a 34-year-old villager in Bahri Patni, Sindh, told Al Jazeera.
Mashaal Saeed of Islamic Relief — one of the aid organizations under the umbrella of the Humanitarian Coalition coordinating relief for Pakistan — returned to Canada last week after spending the first two weeks of September in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, where much of her family resides.
While Islamabad itself wasn’t flooded, the entire country is affected in some capacity, Saeed told me.
The destruction of crops in the southern provinces has increased food prices across the country, she explained. People who have lost their homes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have made the trip east to Islamabad, where they are living in tents.
Saeed went in the opposite direction to Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — about two hours away from the capital — to survey the devastation and provide relief.
“That was one of the cities which is really heavily impacted by the flooding. It's actually one of the harder to reach cities as well. Not many have been able to go there. Islamic Relief is actually the only ones there responding,” she said.
She said the contrast with Islamabad was as stark as it was immediate. “Within seconds you see the difference. Honestly, you see it on the news, you see it in pictures, but seeing it in person was a completely different feeling. It just left me heartbroken for my people,” Saeed said.
A local in Nowshera told Saeed about how this flood was unlike anything he’s seen before:
He grew up in that city for his entire life. He was there since birth and he's experienced floods before, like the one in 2010, which is also pretty devastating. But the thing about this one which was very different was how the water came and how it stayed. It stayed at about 10 feet high, if not more, for four to five days. And this water is mixed in with sewer water. It's not clean, it's very dirty, and it's just sitting there for days.
The floods increased the prevalence of dengue, which is contracted through mosquitos, who are attracted to moisture. Dengue is already a major issue in Pakistan, Saeed added.
While floods are by definition natural disasters, human behaviour has exacerbated their impact. “This wasn't just nature taking its course. This was, unfortunately, a climate-induced flood,” said Saeed.
Despite Pakistan bearing the brunt of climate change’s impacts, the country contributes just half a percentage point of global carbon emissions. Pakistan generates just 0.8 tonnes of carbon emissions per capita, compared to 18.58 for Canada, which has yet to experience the worst effects of the climate crisis.
One reason Pakistan bears such a disproportionate impact is the number of glaciers it has — more than any country outside the Arctic.
People on the ground are most immediately in need of food packs, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, clean drinking water, tents and feminine products, Saeed said.
Debate on the morality of war taking place on International Day of Peace
Tomorrow night at 7 p.m. EST World Beyond War is hosting a debate on the proposition “War can never be justified.”
Arguing in favour is World Beyond War executive director and author David Swanson, whose books include War Is a Lie. He’s also the campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org and hosts Talk World Radio.
Arguing against is Montreal-based author and journalist Arnold August, who is a contributing editor to independent anti-imperialist news outlet The Canada Files. August’s work appears regularly in international media in English, French and Spanish.
Southern Belgium-based YouTuber Youri Smouter, a/k/a Yuri Muckraker, will moderate the discussion.
Participants will be able to share questions for Smouter to ask.
Register to tune in to the debate here.
In other news …
Industry-funded oil lobby group the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is buying Facebook ads urging Canadians to oppose greenhouse gas emission limits on oil and gas production through an astroturf organization called “Canada’s Energy Citizens”.
AIDS activists are calling on the federal government to provide $1.2 billion to a global fund for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, to which Canada has given $4 billion since 2002.
Large parts of Puerto Rico are without electricity after getting hit by flash flooding and mudslides from Hurricane Fiona, which has now reached the Dominican Republic.
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The A/V Corner
Watch: In a new video for The Breach, El Jones says the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth’s death is the perfect time to critique the monarchy’s role in colonialism, especially for those who were victimized by it.
Watch: Tech Won’t Save Us host and friend of the newsletter Paris Marx joined Euronews to explain why electric cars aren’t a solution to the climate crisis.
Edited by Stephen Magusiak
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