Pakistan is amongst the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change. The country has long faced humanitarian and natural disasters but in recent years their numbers and frequency has increased. That Pakistan will face numerous climate-induced extreme weather events in the future is a foregone conclusion. What the state needs to do is demonstrate willingness and ability to take action to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
As an editorial in Dawn noted, “reducing temperature rise is beyond Pakistan’s ability the state can play a more positive role in ensuring that the infrastructure is resilient to the ravages of climate change and extreme weather events. It can make sure that structures such as bridges and embankments in flood- and landslide-prone areas are sturdy, disallow constructions that block the natural flow of water, and halt illegal logging.”
In mid-April there were two stark reminders of the hazards natural disasters pose to people’s safety. The landslide at the Torkham border with Afghanistan and people trapped on the high-altitude Karakoram Highway due to heavy rainfall and landslides. Of course, the country has yet to recover from last year’s super monsoon flood.
As the Dawn editorial asks, “what is the government doing to address the anthropogenic factors that aggravate the impact of natural disasters, and, what efforts are being made to build climate-resilient infrastructure that can resist the worst effects of disasters?”