Public services in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, have been suspended and businesses are being urged to close, as torrential rains cause deadly flash flooding and infrastructure damage, leaving at least 15 dead since Saturday.
On Sunday night, more than 60 millimeters of rain fell in Karachi, equivalent to an entire months’ worth of rainfall in just a matter of hours.
For several months every summer, Pakistan struggles to contend with heavy monsoon rains, but in recent years experts say climate change is accelerating existing weather patterns.
On Sunday, Pakistan’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, issued flash flood warnings for residents in more than 14 cities and townships.
Since the monsoon season began last month, more than 300 people have been killed by heavy rains across Pakistan, according to its National Disaster Management Authority.
In Karachi, capital of Sindh province and home to almost 16 million, entire neighborhoods have been partially submerged.
Infrastructure including bridges, highways and roads have been damaged, disrupting traffic and upending the lives of millions across the city. Many have stocked up on fuel for their generators in case of power outages.
Pakistan often experiences heavy rains from July through September, but experts say the rains have only increased in both frequency and intensity.
And the poorest and most vulnerable are on the front line of crisis.
A 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said they had medium confidence that heat waves and humidity stress would become more “intense and frequent,” and “annual and summer monsoon precipitation will increase.”
India and Pakistan are among the countries expected to be worst affected by the climate crisis, according to the IPCC.
— Azhar Mashwani (@MashwaniAzhar) July 24, 2022
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) July 25, 2022
— The Times of Karachi (@TOKCityOfLights) July 25, 2022