Pakistan is ravaged by climate change

For Pakistan, 2022 may remain the year of all climate disasters. First, there was the infernal heat of the spring, which reached, in May, 50 degrees in some localities and aggravated the melting of the glaciers in the high mountains and the drought in the plains; then, since the early onset of the rainy season in mid-June, torrential rains, accompanied by floods, submerged a third of the country.

that “exceeds any limit, any pattern observed in the past”, warned, on August 29, in an interview with AFP, the Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman – including the floods of 2010, which claimed 2,000 victims. The current toll, which is getting worse every hour, is very provisional due to the difficulty of relief workers to reach the villages located in the remote mountainous region and cut off from the rest of the country due to the destruction of roads or bridges, brought by the waves.

“We are used to rainy season every year, but we have never seen anything like this”the Minister recalled. “Eight weeks of constant rain” which hit hardest in regions already affected by high spring temperatures.











Former Territory
federal tribe







from Siachen

K2, 8,611m

Shisper said

from Arabia

Nok Kundi, 47.5°C
June 27

Nawabshah, 50.5°C
May 14th

Jacobabad, 51°C
May 14th

Jhelum, 47°C
April 14




Mirput Khas












Between March and June, there are no such heat waves

Highest temperature in May

The peak temperature is recorded during spring

Glacier whose melting is accelerated by high temperatures

Since July, the heat has been accompanied by heavy rain

Flooding of rivers, August 29

average level

high level

Dam in critical condition on August 26

Another dam

Since August 1, populated areas have been flooded

Flooded area between 1er and August 29

Area with high population density

This disaster affected most of the country

The district is classified in a state of calamity

Other districts affected by floods

During this period, Pakistan and northwestern India recorded temperatures of 6 to 9 °C above the usual times, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Service.

The rainy season started in June, earlier than expected. July 2022 will be the wettest month in over sixty years (1961).

Balance sheet of 1er September 2022

  • 33 million Pakistanis are affected, or one in seven
  • 1,208 are dead confirmed
  • 50 million moved
  • 1.2 million damaged or destroyed houses
  • In addition 730,000 cow’s head and 1.8 million hectares of agricultural land were lost

Map created with the help of Jean Luc Racinegeographer and research director emeritus of the CNRS, and Magali Reghezza-Zittgeographer, lecturer at the Center for training on the environment and society (Ceres)/ENS

Sources: Copernicus; European Commission; National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan; Unosat; Pakistan Meteorological Department; Unocha

Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to climate change. It is in the eighth position among the countries most affected by extreme weather events, according to a study by the NGO Germanwatch published in 2021. Its population, weakened by poverty and growing inequality, is particularly exposed on climate risks. And the public authorities, immersed in repeated political crises, have not yet been able to put in place effective risk prevention and management strategies. Pushed to the limits of its adaptive capacity by climate change, Pakistan may take time to recover from this new disaster.

La Nina

The cold equivalent of the event El Nino causing a cooling of the surface waters of the Pacific, which influences the rainfall cycle and the climate in some regions of the world. While its average duration is two years, the conditions of La Nina will continue for the third year in a row.


This classic seasonal event (from July to November) is caused by a change in the trade winds that, full of humidity, collide with the barrier of the Himalayas. These heavy rains have traditionally blasted the region’s agriculture.


The country suffered from severe drought with below normal rainfall between October 2020 and May 2021 (–36.1%), and between January and April 2022 (–21.6%). Soils no longer absorb heavy and abundant rainfall.

Artificialization of land

With more than 200 million inhabitants and a population growth rate of 2.4% per year, urbanization is accelerating. Sometimes towns develop in flood-prone areas, rivers are modified and their channels are concreted. The artificialization of land reinforces the phenomenon of runoff.


Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to flooding. In 2010, already, it caused the death of 2,000 people and caused damage in the amount of 40 billion dollars. Since then, these violent incidents have become more frequent.

Glacier melting

With rising temperatures, glaciers melt and feed the flow of rivers. High altitude glacial lakes break and suddenly release large amounts of water. Thirty lakes threaten more than 7 million people.

Habitat vulnerability

In dangerous residential areas, sanitation systems are often faulty. With heavy rains, inadequate infrastructure cannot prevent and cause new floods.

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