Forgotten Floods


Despite renewed calls for solidarity by the UN, aid from the international community has been slow in its momentum and a little close-fisted in its scope. Reeling under a climate crisis of “biblical proportions” for nearly three months, Pakistan is still nowhere near normalcy. Borrowing the words of climate change minister Sherry Rehman, the country is “literally broken,” trying its utmost best to keep its head above water against a catastrophe determinedly pushing it “back half a century.”
While Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his team have done a remarkable job in spreading awareness about the never-heard-before horrors we are dealing with, the international media has not been quite forthcoming with its empathy. By their skewed priorities and hesitation in reporting on the doom-and-gloom, they have not only done a great disservice to their responsibility to inform the masses about a country left in utter turmoil for months, if not years, to come but failed to add to a pertinent debate on climatic justice. Life has changed in this star-crossed land forever and that we have little to do with bringing the situation to this shambolic point of no return, rubs some more salt in the oozing wounds.
The onus of this disaster is on the Global North, which is hiding behind hollow platitudes and criminal oblivion to the debilitating situation on the ground. Paying a colossal price for contributing only 0.4 per cent of global carbon emissions, Pakistan is said to buckle up for more frequent yet increasingly vicious monsoon spells. Expected to heat up to an unbelievable 4.9 degrees Celcius, the country is literally running out of time before it becomes inhabitable to the fifth-largest population in the world. “Reparations” has become a heated buzzword as campaigners demand “loss and damage” payments from rich polluting nations, whose designs to industrialise at the expense of mother nature, have paved the developing world’s path for a field trip to hell. With nearly 1600 killed and a half million “crowded into camps” after being rendered homeless, the damages wreaked upon the infrastructure and the people cannot be overcome by a struggling state. What is needed is a concerted action; an unwavering commitment to human tragedies and the biggest weapon of all: empathy.
But since the rich countries are determined to maintain silence on “liability and compensation” in the upcoming climate summit and mainstream media refuses to narrate stories that actually make sense to an average person, millions upon millions of struggling Pakistanis are bound to be forgotten after a news cycle or two.