Wealthy nations have been urged to support Pakistan as floods continue to devastate large areas of the country and the death toll continues to rise.
Amnesty International said the floods serve as a stark warning of the devastating impact of climate change and states most responsible for the climate crisis must provide compensation and remedy for the loss and damage caused by the climate crisis.
It added wealthier states that have responsibility for climate change must remedy “historic injustices” and support low-emitting countries like Pakistan after deadly floods have shown the devastating impact of climate change.
“States that have enriched themselves using fossil fuels and other unsustainable practices must meet their international obligations. They must provide compensation and other forms of remedy for the loss and damage people are suffering in Pakistan,” said Rimmel Mohydin, Amnesty International’s Pakistan campaigner.
The organisation said since 1959, Pakistan has accounted for 0.4% of historic emissions and yet it is listed as one of the most climate vulnerable places in the world, according to joint findings by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“According to government reports, the flood damage in Pakistan is far-reaching, leaving close to three quarters of a million people without access to safe and adequate housing,” it added. “Large swathes of agricultural lands have been flooded, destroying crops and threatening the country’s food supply.”
The federal minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, said on Monday that “a third of the country is under water,” dubbing it a “crisis of unimaginable proportions.” Damage to infrastructure and internet and phone connectivity is severely hampering rescue and relief operations.
“The destruction and death in Pakistan has shown how these floods risk entrenching existing inequalities and putting millions at risk of homelessness, hunger, ill-health and even premature death. The government must uphold the human rights of the affected communities and take preventive measures to protect those most at-risk from the impacts of the disaster,” said Mohydin.
Amnesty International added the floods have had a particularly devastating impact on people living in poverty as many of them live in inadequate and poor-quality housing along riverbanks, low-lying areas and areas that are difficult to reach due to lack of adequate infrastructure. Little has been done so far to protect these communities from the impacts of climate change.
Women are particularly adversely affected by the floods. According to the United Nations Population Fund, there are almost 650,000 pregnant women in the flood-affected areas, with almost 73,000 women expected to deliver in the next month. More than 1,000 health facilities are either partially or fully damaged in Sindh province, whereas 198 health facilities are damaged in affected districts in Balochistan.
“Existing inequalities based on people’s gender, socio-economic status, age, and other identities will no doubt be exacerbated by the floods. Marginalized groups, such as people living in poverty are bound to be much worse off. The newly-formed National Flood Response and Coordination Centre must take into account the needs and requirements of different communities as it plans its strategy on how to protect people from the distressing effects of the floods,” Mohydin explained.