Devastating monsoon in Pakistan: floods seen from space

Deadly floods. “The worst in the country’s history”, in the words of Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Within months, Pakistan became the scene of a devastating monsoon. If this is a usual climatic phenomenon for the region, what the country is currently experiencing has already killed nearly 1,162 people and disrupted the lives of nearly 33 million people, or one in seven inhabitants, according to the Authority. Pakistan National Disaster Management (NDMA) ).

Images seen from the sky allow us to illustrate the progress of the floods and measure the destruction. In the two most affected provinces, Balochistan and Sind, the rainfall was more than four times higher than the average for the last thirty years. Better known to be a dry zone, Balochistan, in the southwestern part of Pakistan, is now under water.

The town of Dera Murad Jamali, in one of the regions worst affected by the monsoons, Balochistan between August 4 and August 28.  LP/DATA Victor Alexandre
The town of Dera Murad Jamali, in one of the regions worst affected by the monsoons, Balochistan between August 4 and August 28. LP/DATA Victor Alexandre

The floods have washed away villages and crops, and soldiers and aid workers are still trying to provide the necessary assistance to displaced people seeking refuge in the town of Dera Murad Jamali. The NGO Doctors Without Borders, which is there, said on its Twitter account: “At Dera Murad Jamali, we are helping displaced people with mobile clinics (…) We are closely monitoring the situation in Balochistan and Sindh. »

A few hundred kilometers away, the province of Sind, in the southern part of the country, comes down to a large sea, where land and houses have been ravaged. The country’s main river, the Indus, fed by rivers from the north, threatens to burst its banks. The town of Bhan Syedabad, near Lake Manchar, has been completely flooded for weeks. As the English-language Pakistani media The Dawn states, “the water has invaded the houses in the town of Bhan, now submerged in mud. Many residents have complained about the lack of help from the government. »

The city of Bhan, in the center of Sind province, between August 11 and August 29.  LP/DATA Victor Alexandre
The city of Bhan, in the center of Sind province, between August 11 and August 29. LP/DATA Victor Alexandre

If almost a third of Pakistan is flooded, it is still difficult to assess the extent of the damage as long as the water has not yet evaporated. The country received twice as much rainfall as normal, according to local meteorological services. The accelerated melting of glaciers has flooded the rivers that cross the country, such as the Indus.

The town of Nowshera also suffered from the monsoons. This city is located in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northern part of the country. An area that has many rivers and is crossed by steep mountains and valleys. As can be seen in this visualization, between August 6 and August 28, Kabul, the river that crosses the city of Nowshera, completely overflowed its banks, with water sometimes reaching up to two meters in some places.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, water reached the town of Nowshera, as seen between August 6 and August 28.  LP/DATA Victor Alexandre
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, water reached the town of Nowshera, as seen between August 6 and August 28. LP/DATA Victor Alexandre

As reported According to Kermani, correspondent for the BBC in Pakistan, “the monsoons occur every year, but do not have such an impact, and we know that climate change is exacerbating weather phenomena, which are becoming more and more frequent. Over the years, Pakistan will be confronted more and more with such events. »

In Qambar, in the Swat Valley, unprecedented rains turned rivers into destructive torrents that wiped out roads and bridges, trapping residents and tourists.

The city of Qambar, in the Sindh region, between August 4 and August 29.  LP/DATA Victor Alexandre
The city of Qambar, in the Sindh region, between August 4 and August 29. LP/DATA Victor Alexandre

According to AFP, army and government helicopters in this tourist region in the foothills of the Himalayas have already come to the aid of hundreds of people, some of whom were in urgent need of medical treatment. 21 deaths have been recorded so far. Most of these people died when their houses collapsed, but some were also swept away by the waves.

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