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It is said, “Coming events cast their shadows before.� Scientists of the world, in government as well in private, under the umbrella of Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have confirmed that the climate of the Earth has undergone a significant change over the last 150 years or so. More people worldwide are now displaced by natural disasters than by conflict. But more and more of the devastation wrought by such natural disasters is "unnatural" in origin, caused by ecologically destructive practices and an increasing number of people living in harm's way. "By degrading forests, engineering rivers, filling in wetlands, and destabilizing the climate, we are unraveling the strands of a complex ecological safety net," said Senior Researcher and author of Unnatural Disasters Janet Abramovitz. These climate change trends are an emerging threat for our planet. Climate change has manifested in disasters of unpredictable frequency and intensity in different parts of world. Pakistan with one of the most populated developing country is facing multitude of impacts ensuing from climate change phenomenon. The Super Floods of 2010 and the cyclones of 1999 and 2007, are grim reminders of the fact that we are negotiating a serious challenge posed by climate change as result of deforestation, urbanization, pollution and high temperatures. Devastating flooding that has swamped one-fifth of Pakistan and left millions homeless is likely the worst natural disaster to date attributable to climate change. Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva had said that there's no doubt that higher Atlantic Ocean temperatures had contributed to the disaster begun late 2010 in Pakistan. Atmospheric anomalies that led to the floods are also directly related to the same weather phenomena that had caused the record heat wave in Russia and flooding and mudslides in western China, said Ghassem Asrar, director of the World Climate Research Programme and WMO. And if the forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are correct, then Pakistan's misery is just a sign of more to come, said Asrar. During the most intense storms, about a foot of rain fell over a 36-hour period. Parts of the affected areas received 180 percent of the precipitation expected in a normal monsoon cycle. Records show that the famed Indus River was at its highest water level ever recorded in the 110 years since regular record-keeping began. According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) data number of displaced people was somewhere between 15 million and 20 million and thousands of people lost their lives. An estimated 11 million people were made homeless by the disaster. The floods destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of cultivatable land and crops in the traditional food-basket regions of Sindh and Punjab, and many farmers lost their seeds. In some areas the water stagnated on the surface for months, making planting difficult. And at least 1.2 million livestock died, crippling poor families who depended on them for food and draught power,

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CLIMATE CHANGE AND FLOOD 2010 IN PAKISTAN according to UN estimates. The price of vegetables and other foods rose, making it harder for ordinary people to survive. The country suffered more than $10 billion in damages to infrastructure, bridges, houses and roads and human sufferings were unparalleled. The institutional tentacles of disaster response system were practically paralysed by the enormity of the floods. NDMA and its provincial and district extensions were sent into a tailspin by the disaster. Response system was developed but proved to be highly ineffective by following floods of 2011 and 2012. If the real causes are not addressed, the treatment of the physical infrastructure will leave the problem only half-solved and will not avoid future disasters. That is not to deny that the repair of the crumbled infrastructure should be the top priority, yet failing to contemplate other dimensions would amount to lack of prescience. Three key factors would determine the scale of future floods in the Indus river basin — climate change, deforestation in watershed areas and flood plains, and tampering with the river’s regime. If these long-term issues are not addressed, the Indus river basin will remain under the perennial peril of disasters, oscillating between drought and flood cycles. The unpredictability of weather is an attribute of climate change. Considering that the problem has no localized solutions, adaptation is the only option. This involves a mixture of biological, social and technical responses. Alterations in flood plains through climatically insensitive engineering works have introduced an irreversible distortion in the river regime to which floods are a sequel. In the years before Tarbela Dam was built, Sindh would receive a flood of 300,000 cusecs almost every year — and 500,000 cusecs in a number of years. This flood pattern shaped the river regime over the decades and all social and administrative systems were developed in consonance with it.

Climate change and floods 2010 pakistan