Impact of climate change in Pakistan’s Balochistan continues to worsen

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As the Conference of Parties-28 (COP28) concludes by highlighting climate change concerns, an expert stressed that Pakistan’s Balochistan has been witnessing the effects of climate change since the late 1990s, adding that the impacts of climate change have continued to worsen over the last two decades, reported Dawn.

Muhammad Tahir Khan, a climate change expert, explained why Balochistan has been vulnerable to natural calamities and how these events are reshaping the province’s geography.

“Balochistan has been witnessing the effects of climate change since the late 1990s. Now, the threat has metastasised, and people are on the receiving end,” he said.

Moreover, in recent years, the impact was quite evident as torrential rains and floods wreaked havoc in the entire province, according to Dawn.

It was an emergency-like situation, worse than any other province due to Balochistan’s diverse geographical position and huge land mass.

While talking about how climate change impacted Balochistan, Khan noted that the province almost is half of Pakistan, geographically, further saying that the threat of climate change in Balochistan has diversified from 2015 to 2018.

“In Balochistan, the threat of climate change has diversified in the sense that from 2015 to 2018, when I was in Balochistan, it was a critical time in terms of climate change in the province. Geographically, Balochistan is almost half of the country,” he said.

Khan further emphasised that its northern parts received heavy snow and torrential rains, while in the central and eastern regions, floods have wreaked havoc over and over again, adding that as for the Makran and Rakhshan divisions, there is a threat of drought.

“Over the last two decades, the impacts of climate change have continued to worsen,” he added.

Khan further highlighted that the authorities never had a proper mechanism to cope with the situation in the past, nor do they have now.

Moreover, he emphasised that in some places, residents have migrated due to the worsening climate change.

“For instance, in the drought-hit parts of the province, people don’t have water for themselves and their livestock. So, they are compelled to leave their homes for a better place. In many regions, including the drought-hit areas, there are many tube wells extracting water through solar power. But the sad reality, which people are unaware of, is that the water table has depleted due to this extraction,” he said.

Khan said that the underground water level has decreased to over 1,200 feet. But, as it seems, no lessons are being learnt.

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