Graana.com Blog | Why Floods Occur in Pakistan


Why Floods Occur in Pakistan

Heavy rainfalls have wreaked havoc throughout the country, including the loss of human life and damage to infrastructure. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), flash floods in Pakistan have caused the death of 937 people so far since mid-June 2022. 

The heavy monsoon rainfalls have severely impacted the areas of Sindh, South Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, and Balochistan, leaving about 50,000 people homeless. According to NDMA, Pakistan received 166.8 mm of rain in August, compared to the average rainfall of 48 mm during the same time last year. This shows an increase of 241 percent in the average monsoon rainfall.

The two worst-hit regions, Sindh and Balochistan, have witnessed around 784 percent and 496 percent increase in rainfall, respectively. 

This monsoon spell has caused flash floods in different areas of the country, destroying thousands of homes and leaving around 30 million people without shelter. According to the Minister of Climate Change, it is the 8th monsoon cycle, which is unprecedented as Pakistan usually has 3 to 4 monsoon cycles. 

The authorities are expecting another cycle in September that can make the current situation even worse for the locals.

Graana.com, Pakistan’s smartest property portal, provides a comprehensive analysis of the causes of floods in Pakistan.

 

What Are the Causes of Floods in Pakistan?

 

Floods in Pakistan

 

Following are some of the reasons why floods are becoming a common occurrence in Pakistan. 

Heavy Rainfalls

Historically, floods were caused by heavy rainfalls in the monsoon season that increased water levels in the Indus river, the most important water resource for the country’s agricultural production.

In 2010, the devastating monsoon spell started on 18th July and ended on 10th September. This caused floods in the Indus and its tributaries i.e Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej Rivers. 

The breaches along the Indus river embankments, mostly upstream of Taunsa Barrage in Punjab and at Tori/Ghauspur of Sukkur Barrage, caused the floods in 2010.

The same has happened this year but it has caused an even more devastating impact, especially in the south of Pakistan. According to experts, climate change is the main reason behind these sudden weather changes, which have caused the melting of glaciers and cloudbursts in different parts of the country. 

Due to rapidly melting glaciers and unprecedented rainfalls, the water levels in rivers and dams are rising, resulting in the overflow of reservoirs.

Following is the data on the heaviest rainfall received in a single day, recorded. The data is from 1931 to 2020.

 

Heaviest Rainfall Received in a Single Day

 

Date Rainfall (mm) City Province
11 August 2011 350 Tando Ghulam Ali Sindh
23 July 2001 335 Rawalpindi (Shamsabad) Punjab
10 September 2012 305 Jacobabad Sindh
5 September 2014 300 Lahore Punjab
5 September 2014 296 Jhelum Punjab
5 September 2014 297 Islamabad Islamabad Capital Territory
10 August 2011 291 Mithi Sindh
29 July 2010 280 Risalpur Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
7 August 1953 278.1 Karachi (Manora) Sindh
29 July 2010 274 Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
5 September 1961 264.2 Faisalabad Punjab
30 July 2010 257 Islamabad Islamabad Capital Territory
29 July 2010 257 Cherat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
2 July 1972 256.5 Nawabshah Sindh
10 September 1992 255 Murree Punjab
5 September 2014 251 Mangla Punjab
5 September 2014 251 Sialkot Punjab
12 September 1962 250.7 Hyderabad Sindh
18 July 2009 205 Karachi (Masroor) Sindh
5 September 2014 243 Islamabad Islamabad Capital Territory
2 September 2020 240 Bahawalnagar Punjab
26 August 2011 240 Kohat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
31 August 2011 238 Padidan Sindh
5 September 2014 234 Rawalakot Azad Kashmir
27 August 1997 233.8 Murree Punjab
29 July 2010 233 Kohat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
30 July 2010 231 Murree Punjab
6 June 2010 227 Gwadar BalochistanBalouchistan
7 September 2011 225 Mithi Sindh
13 August 2008 221 Lahore Punjab
20 July 2013 217 Islamabad Islamabad Capital Territory
1 August 1976 211 Lahore Punjab
8 July 2003 209 Larkana Sindh
10 September 1992 208 Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir
1 July 1977 207.6 Karachi Sindh
29 July 2007 205 Sargodha Punjab
4 August 2010 202 Dera Ismail Khan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
11 August 2011 200 Tando Mohammad Khan Sindh
11 August 2011 200 Tando Ghulam Haider Sindh
24 July 2001 200 Islamabad Islamabad Capital Territory
27 August 1997 200 Islamabad Islamabad Capital Territory

 

Deforestation: The Cause of Floods in Pakistan

 

How floods are affecting Pakistan

 

The intensity of these rainfalls has increased dramatically this year due to deforestation. According to the Global Forest Watch Organisation, Pakistan has lost around 63.2 hectares of forest cover in 2021, which is equivalent to 23.5 kt (kiloton) of CO₂ emissions. These have increased temperatures; those in the southern cities have crossed 120°F. 

This shows how much deforestation has contributed to climate change in the country that, in result, causes such natural disasters. 

Another reason for deforestation is the unplanned and rapid urbanization that has resulted in frequent soil erosion and urban flooding.

 

Not Building Dams

Another reason for the common occurrence of floods is that no new dams in Pakistan have been constructed in the past few years.

Currently,  the development of the Mohmand and Diamer Bhasha Dams is under process, which will help in storing rainwater and reducing the impact of floods in the future. Moreover, apart from these two dams, more dams are under construction in Pakistan.

However, these dams will not be enough to deal with extreme weather conditions as the country need several big water reservoirs to reduce the occurrence of floods in the country.

 

Conclusion

While these monsoon rains are the major cause of floods, there are several other natural and structural issues that have triggered these extreme weather conditions. The government needs to take flood safety measures to prevent losses.

In order to deal with floods, the authorities should build dams and introduce measures to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, which will help in reducing the impact of climate change in the country.





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