Aug 25, 2022 - World

Over 900 killed as monsoon rains and floods devastate Pakistan

Stranded people wade through a flooded area after heavy monsoon rainfall in Rajanpur district of Punjab province
Stranded people wade through a flooded area after heavy monsoon rainfall in Rajanpur district of Punjab province. Photo: Shahid Saeed Mirza/AFP via Getty Images

Heavy monsoon rains that triggered flooding and landslides in Pakistan this summer have killed over 900 people, including 326 children, and displaced tens of thousands, Pakistani officials say.

The big picture: Millions have been affected by the rains and flooding, which have destroyed more than 95,000 homes and damaged hundreds of thousands more, according to the UN. It's one of the worst monsoon seasons Pakistan has seen in recent years, with last month being the wettest July since 1961, per Reuters.

  • The areas most affected by the monsoon rains, which began in mid-June, include southwestern Baluchistan and eastern Punjab province and southern Sindh province.

State of play: Officials in Pakistan, which was already facing an economic crisis, have called on the international community to help respond to the devastation.

  • "No question of the provinces or Islamabad being able to cope with this magnitude of climate catastrophe on their own," tweeted Sherry Rehman, Pakistian's minister of climate change.
  • "Int’l partners need to mobilise assistance," she said, adding at a briefing that "lives are at risk [and] shelter is completely almost obliterated" in many of the affected areas.

The UN has allocated $3 million in funding for emergency response operations.

  • China has also announced it will send emergency assistance to Pakistan to aid in the response.

Our thought bubble via Andrew Freedman: Climate change is influencing extreme weather events in ways that ramp up disaster risks worldwide.

  • Europe, China and the U.S. experienced deadly heat waves this year, while Australia and other places saw widespread flooding.
  • Climate change is altering the characteristics of the Asian Monsoon in ways that make more extreme rainfall amounts more likely to occur, as warmer air holds more moisture.

What to watch: The monsoon rains in Pakistan are expected to continue through this week, mostly in the southern part of the country, AP reports.

Go deeper