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  • Writer's pictureSafiyyah Choudry

PAKISTAN FLOODS: THE HUMAN COST

Updated: Nov 28, 2022



“We have lost our relatives, our crops, our animals, everything”, said a sorrowful voice over the phone. These are the heart-wrenching words of Ramiz Ahmed, one of millions affected by the floods.

A home destroyed by the floods. Image credit: Ramiz Ahmed

The Pakistan flash floods have affected 1 in 7 Pakistanis, including around 16 million children, and the effects will ripple throughout the nation for years to come.

Devastating flash floods triggered by unprecedented monsoon rains from June to August 2022 have destroyed the lives of more than 33 million Pakistanis.

These are the worst floods the country has been struck by since 2010. Shah Faisal Khan, 37, from Chail Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, explains, "I have never seen anything like it. The magnitude of these floods was far greater than the floods of 2010. It feels three times bigger."

According to the UN, it could take six months for floodwaters to recede in the hardest-hit areas. The provinces of Balochistan and Sindh have been affected the most. At its worst, one-third of the country was completely submerged underwater.

Laila Ahmed's destroyed family home
Laila Shabeer Ahmed is a 38-year-old from Padidan, a small town in Sindh. Since June, Padidan has received record rainfall of more than 47 inches, making it the wettest place in the country.

Ms Ahmed's family had to leave their home in the middle of the night because the heavy rain destroyed their roof. She describes her and her family's painful experiences in an exclusive interview.



Laila and her family are not alone. Dr Naeem Ahmed, 33, from Haji Ghulam Muhammed Kubar village in the Sindh province, also lost his family home. “Our place was flooded with water, and even after 2-3 months, the water is still 5-7 feet deep, and roads and facilities are flooded.”

According to figures from the Critical Disaster Philanthropy, more than 2.1 million homes have been damaged or destroyed in these cataclysmic floods.

Pakistan’s Meteorological Department discovered that during the month of August, rainfall was 726 per cent higher than the monthly average in Sindh and 590 per cent higher in Balochistan.


Map of flooded areas. Image credit: Al Jazeera Labs

Around 81 districts in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, and KP have been officially declared as calamity hit. According to data from the National Disaster Management Authority, approximately 1,400 have been found dead since June 14th.

The death toll has been creeping up, but when cemeteries are flooded, where do you bury the dead?

Muhammed Sachal, 26, from Muhammad Qabil Mangrio village in Sukkur, Sindh, describes the mighty monsoons.

“I have never seen this much rainfall in my 26 years of life. It’s just four months, but it’s been continuously raining, and it’s because of climate change. Global warming is a major problem, and glaciers are melting very fast here in Pakistan."

Mr Sachal recalls, “I was in my village on August 16th when there was heavy rain in the monsoon season. I went to provide tents to the people whose houses were demolished. Almost my whole village has been affected. There are around 350 houses in my village, of which 260 were destroyed. Even now, there is still huge amounts of water."

Muhammed Sachal handing out food in flood-affected areas
He has been doing his best to help, claiming to have helped families in the hundreds.

“I have rescued 250 families from my village during the heavy rain. I have paid for 17 funeral prayers in my village alone in just one and a half months. People died due to this flood.”





Experts are attributing it to climate change, with UN chief Antonio Guterres describing the extreme weather event as a “monsoon on steroids”.

In a statement at the COP27 summit, Pakistan's prime minister Shehbaz Sherif asked for help from other countries and stated, "We became a victim of something with which we had nothing to do."

He went on to say, "It was a man-made disaster."

Credit: Sky News

Mr Faisal Khan also believes the people of Pakistan have had to face the bitter consequences of the West’s ignorance towards the climate problem. He says, "The people of Pakistan hardly contribute to climate change. We emit less than 1% of world carbon emissions, unlike the Western highly developed countries.”

He is not wrong. According to a study by the Center for Global Development (CGD), it would take the average US citizen 24 days to produce the annual carbon emissions of an average citizen from Pakistan.

Furthermore, this tragedy has led to a considerable rise in cases of waterborne illness, with the World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warning of another disaster: disease.

"I am deeply concerned about the potential for a second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of disease and death following this catastrophe, linked to climate change, that has severely impacted vital health systems leaving millions vulnerable,” he stated.

Jeejal-Jacobabad (Balochistan, Pakistan) Image credit: 2022 Maryam Imtiaz/CARE
According to WHO, malaria is one of Pakistan's leading causes of illness and death.

The vast accumulation of stagnant water has resulted in suspected malaria cases skyrocketing to more than 3.4 million from January to August alone. A tremendous growth compared to the 2.6 million cases reported in 2021.


Flood waters are the perfect habitat for mosquitos to swarm around and prey on shelterless families sleeping under the sky with no nets for protection.

Dengue fever, another mosquito-carried killer, has also surged in cases. According to WHO, there were approximately 26,000 confirmed dengue cases in Pakistan between January and September. Unsurprisingly, 74% of them were reported in September alone due to the floods.

Muhammad Sachal explains, “People are in a lot of trouble. They have skin diseases, diarrhoea, malaria, and dengue fever. They do not have any medical facilities to go to for help."


Map of dengue cases. Image credit: WHO 2022

Dr Ahmed
Dr Naeem Ahmed works in the basic health unit in Haji Ghulam Muhammed Kubar village, Sindh.

“I am trying by my best to help the sick, but there are not enough resources. This disaster is much bigger than us, and medical facilities are flooded.”

“Dengue and malaria cases are increasing by the day. There are no proper healthcare facilities. They don’t provide us with any food or medication to give to the people who need help, the poor people.”

Dr Ahmed assisting patients

Although doctors in Pakistan have been struggling to cope with the growing number of patients and lack of medical facilities, the international response has been promising. Charities are working hard to support and relieve the flood victims.

David Moore, press officer for CARE International, spoke on what the leading humanitarian organisation is doing to help.




Although charities are doing their utmost best, some feel the aid is not reaching those in the most deprived areas.

Laila Ahmed claims the government should be helping more. She says, "They never bothered to come here. They're so busy with their own political things and they knew these rains were coming but they didn't prepare. The ignorance brought all these problems."

Dr Ahmed reiterates, "I can say we don’t have much support from the government."

Ramiz Ahmed, 24, has been trying to help his family through the disaster. He is from a small village in Sindh called Muhammad Essa Shar in Thari Mirwah-Khairpur.

He believes the relief is not reaching the people who genuinely need it and blames the government.



According to a press release by UNICEF on November 2nd, more than 2 million children still don't have access to school education because of the floods.

Looking toward the future, Muhammed Sachal calls on the government to take responsibility and not repeat the same mistakes so they can better prepare if this happens again.

Mr Sachal says, “They should drain water from the villages and construct houses for people. After construction, they should sandbag the houses. This would be more effective in saving the houses if this happens again.”

Many flood victims are calling for the draining system in Sindh to be fixed. The hashtag #FixSindhDrainage blew up on Twitter at the height of the crisis. Currently (November 27th), the hashtag receives just under 1000 tweets weekly.

Numerous victims are still caught up in the calamity of the chaos and only just starting to experience the knock-on effects. The surge in waterborne diseases and food insecurity will greatly threaten the future of the impoverished nation.

The government, already facing multiple economic crises, has estimated total losses to be around $30 billion. Even with foreign aid, the climate-induced disaster means the country will struggle to face the ramifications for years to come.

Image credit: Abdul MAJEED / AFP

“It is so terrible I cannot express the feelings of our people. We are living in hell.”
- Dr Naeem Ahmed






For more information or to donate to the Flood Appeal, visit:







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