“This is the sixth special monsoon article of 2011 and it will follow many more monsoon articles”
Last year, every one in the world was shocked that how can a country so big, be flooded from North to South. It is not rare to see Pakistan flooded during the monsoon but those floods are isolated and not much dangerous than those of last year. During monsoon many cities of Pakistan experience urban flooding like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Types of floods in Pakistan
There are many types of flood that occur in the country almost every year.
- Monsoon floods are common in Pakistan. Monsoon rain can fill river basins with much water coupled with melting snows. Torrential rains from decaying monsoon low pressure area can also produce river flooding.
- Flash floods also occur in Pakistan, they are common in the northern areas of the country and cause great loss of life there.
- Floods due to the breaches of river embankments and canal breeches are a frequent occurrence in all the districts of Pakistan.
- Urban floods occur in the major cities of Pakistan, they are also common in the monsoon season.
- Coastal floods occur when a tropical storm makes landfall in the coastal areas of the country. The south-eastern Sindh and the Makran coast bear the burnt of such floods
Reason for flooding in Pakistan
Flooding in rivers is generally caused by heavy rainfall in the catchments during the Monsoon season, which is sometimes augmented by snow melt flows. Monsoon currents originating in the Bay of Bengal and resultant depressions often cause heavy downpour in the Himalayan foothills. These are additionally affected by weather systems from the Arabian Sea and from the Mediterranean Sea (through Western Disturbance) which occasionally produce destructive floods in one or more of the main rivers of the Indus system if they interact with the monsoon currents.
However, exceptionally high floods have occasionally been caused by the formation of temporary natural dams by landslides or glacier movement and their subsequent collapse. These are large seasonal variations in almost all the river discharges, which further aggravates the river course and morphology. The major rivers cause losses by inundating areas along their banks, by damaging irrigation and communication facilities across or adjacent to their banks, and by erosion of land along the riverbanks.
In the upper part of the Indus Basin System, flood water spilling over the riverbanks generally returns to the river. However, in the lower Indus Basin, where the Indus primarily flows at a higher elevation than adjoining lands spills do not return to the river. This phenomenon extends the period of inundation, resulting in even greater damages. Although embankments built along almost the entire length of the river in Sindh and at many locations in the upper Indus Basin have provided some protection against floods, poor maintenance of the bunds causes breaches. Such breaches often cause great damage because of their unexpected nature and intensification of land use following the provision of flood protection. Floods are a potential threat to land, property, lives, and the ecosystem. Floods cause revenue loss and damage irrigation and drainage channels.
List of floods in Pakistan
The another reason for the major floods in Pakistan is that, Pakistan being on the downstream receives multiple effects of the heavy floods from India at the time of monsoons. Following are the historical floods in the country
|Historical floods in Pakistan|
|From 1950 till 2010|
Latest floods in Pakistan
- In 2003, Sindh province was badly affected when above normal monsoon rainfall caused flooding in the province; urban flooding also hit Karachi where two days of rainfall of 284.5 millimetres (11.20 in) created havoc in the city, while Thatta district was the worst hit where 404 millimetres (15.9 in) rainfall caused flash floods in the district. At least 484 people died and some 4,476 villages in the province were affected.
- In 2007, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and coastal Balochistan were badly affected due to monsoon rainfall. Sindh and coastal Balochistan were affected by Cyclone Yemyin in June and then torrential rains in July and August, while Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was affected by melting glaciers and heavy rainfall in July and August. At least 130 people died and 2,000 were displaced in Khyber-Pakhtunkwain in July and 22 people died in August, while 815 people died in Balochistan and Sindh due to flash floods.
- In 2010, almost all of Pakistan was affected when massive flooding caused by record-breaking rains hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. The number of individuals affected by the flooding exceeds the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. At least 2,000 people died in this flood and almost 20 million people were affected by it.
Floods this year too?
There is a lot talk whether floods will occur in Pakistan this year or not. But it is worth mentioning that some isolated floods have been reported in different parts of the country. The latest was Dera Ghazi Khan where floods on June 12 started through Koh-e-Suleman and then entered DG Khan and in the end entered into River Indus. People who migrated following flood threat, have started to come back home.
It must be noted that floods do not occur in this month because the monsoon has not started yet. Only western disturbance passes through Pakistan that cause some rainfall with winds. The DG Khan floods were also due to a western disturbance.
So what will happen this monsoon? Well, Pakistan Weather Portal (PWP)had warned of floods this year on March 11 (Check it here). According to PWP;
“Almost all parts of Pakistan have received good winter rainfall with heavy snowfall over upper parts of Pakistan and it was a chilly winter this year too. It must be noted that temperatures are likely to soar up quickly this year this could become a problem again in the monsoon season of 2011. High temperatures will cause the snow over the mountains to melt and the monsoon rains will speed up the process thus chances of floods can’t be ruled out”
The cold waves continued till early May and after that intense heat wave returned which have started an early process of snow-melt. Now the only thing that needs them to speed this process is Monsoon rainfall. These rains will act as a catalyst.
What should we do?
The government should take care of this problem as soon as possible. Instead of blaming the nature or making silly conspiracy theories, we should work together so that our country becomes stronger and stronger because monsoon rains will occur and nature will not stop unleashing her wrath. It is us that should be prepared. So do you think that floods will occur this year?
You can also read
You can read previous special monsoon article by Pakistan Weather Portal (PWP), here;
- Monsoon 2011 and Cyclones – Sub-continent’s coastal threat?-Part 3
- Monsoon and its Dangers – How many people will die this year?– Part4
- When will Monsoon start over Pakistan? – In Detail!-Part 5
- Monsoon 2011: Backlash of the floods? – History of Pakistan floods in Detail-Part 6
- Monsoon rain of July 28, 2010 – Dark day, but more was ahead!-Part 7
- Much awaited monsoon showers lashes Karachi!-Part 8
- Little girl may return for Monsoon: La-Nina episode!-Part 9
- Heavy downpour in Karachi!-Part 10