by Yusuf Azmi
The headlines are becoming all-too familiar as the damage caused by the climate crisis continues to grow and impact people across Asia. This summer’s monsoon season has been one that continues to confound expectations and has caused widespread destruction and loss of life in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Monsoons and floods alone are nothing new to the region; heavy rainfall, caused by a complex series of wind patterns, sweeps through from June through September every year. It’s a part of life for people across the subcontinent, but with every passing year, it’s becoming a time of increasingly fraught emotions and panic as the rainfall becomes increasingly dangerous and destructive.
As CO2 levels rise, land warms faster, resulting in a higher temperature difference between land and sea. This warmer atmosphere results in a greater likelihood of rainfall. Since 2005, the 10 warmest years on record have been tracked and as CO2 levels continue to rise, this means that monsoon rains are going to keep rising and intensifying.
Experts predict that over the coming years, as the climate crisis continues to escalate, countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh are going to be amongst the worst affected, further exacerbating the difficulties they face due to their economic status.
The numbers from this year’s monsoon season have been truly astounding. In Pakistan this year, they received 60% of the normal monsoon rainfall in just the first three weeks of the season. Resulting in 312 deaths, (including 121 children and 56 women), 10,000 households affected, over 8,000 homes damaged, and 800 schools, 50 bridges and 616 km of road sections have also been affected.
In Afghanistan, in the Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman, and Nuristan areas, flash floods have caused widespread casualties and damage with over 6,000 people affected by destroyed homes and acres of ruined crops.
In Bangladesh, more than 7.2 million people have been struck by the worst floods in the country in over a century. In the Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, 10 villages were flooded and left over 200,000 people stranded. According to the UN, 275 shelters are currently housing about 20,000 people throughout the region.
The damage caused by the flooding and the threats facing those affected is widespread and debilitating. Destroying homes, infrastructure, agriculture, livelihoods and taking lives, striking areas where people are already living in hardship and poverty.
Islamic Relief is continuing to work throughout the region to provide vital assistance to people in Asia struck by this devastating monsoon season. In Pakistan, through our IR partners, we’ve raised over $3,000,000 to support those affected by the flooding, which will be used to provide food packs and shelters to families who are currently sleeping under the stars instead of under roofs. In addition, across affected regions Islamic Relief has distributed the following:
- 810 – Food Packs
- 905 – Kitchen Set
- 1,070 – Hygiene Kit
- 155 – Tents
- 1,120 – Multipurpose CASH grant
In Bangladesh, Islamic Relief’s International Emergency Program has dedicated $200,000 to reduce sufferings in terms of food security and dignity of the flood affected community. In order to achieve this, we will be distributing 4380 food assistance package distribution to the 43800 most affected households.
In addition, we’ll also be distributing 4380 packs of dignity kits focusing on women and girls’ hygiene. By doing so we’re aiming to improve nutritional and basic hygiene status (especially for women and girls) of the flood affected community.
Having operated in the region for almost 30 years, our teams on the ground are well established and well equipped to effectively distribute relief. To show your support to those affected please visit www.irusa.org/asia.