Pakistan, Floods 2010

Overview

The floods, which in the summer of 2010 swept Pakistan, have evolved into a humanitarian and environmental crisis of unprecedented scale, hitting an already troubled nation.

In late July 2010, the yearly monsoons brought rain to the North of Pakistan. However, no one expected that much rain. The Hindus River received in a matter of days the equivalent of three months of monsoon precipitation. The mighty river surged: it broke off levees and dams and inundated the Indus Valley, home to 100 million people. People lost their lives, their homes, their cattle; villages were erased from the map. The situation soon spiraled out of control, the number of flood-affected people increased by the hour. Tens of thousands of Pakistani soldiers and international humanitarian groups hurried to the disaster areas, where thousands of people remained isolated. The UN repeatedly appealed for financial aid in order to address the worst flood in 80 years in the region. Millions of dollars are committed by the world's biggest states; however, the international community seems to be watching the unfolding disaster, numb. In a couple of weeks, and while the waters of the Indus continue to inundate the southern regions of Pakistan, the number of the flood-affected people amounts to an unconceivable 17 million. That is more than the entire population hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2005, the Kashmir earthquake in 2005 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, combined. Thankfully, the loss of life is small, in comparison: around 1.600 people are believed to have died because of the disaster.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon very aptly commented that "Pakistan is facing a slow-motion tsunami". And as the crisis is still unfolding, the full scale of its impact is yet to be seen.