Monsoon 2011: Backlash of the floods? – History of Pakistan floods in Detail

“This is the sixth special monsoon article of 2011 and it will follow many more monsoon articles”

Will the great floods repeat? - Only time will tell

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

Map showing the floods of 2010

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.

20% land of Pakistan was submerged due to the 2010 floods

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
Year Fatalities People affected
1950 2,190 10,000
1956 160 11,609
1957 83 4,498
1973 474 9,719
1976 425 18,390
1978 393 9,199
1988 508 1,000
1992 1,008 13,208
1995 591 6,85
2001 219 50
2003 484 4,376
2004 85 47
2005 59 1,931
2007 918 2 million+
2010 1,781+ 20 million
2011 434 8.9 million

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?

Floods also occurred in Balochistan early this year (2011)

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;


50 replies to “Monsoon 2011: Backlash of the floods? – History of Pakistan floods in Detail

  1. Punjab,Nwfp and kashmir are very wet and flood may occur but this year flood chances are very less and we should not worry.

    1. there are….but not overcast…in the morning there will be more clouds…very light drizzle could be expected…Also the low is still over Gujarat…it is moving like a dead turtle…with this speed it is losing intensity extremely quick…it will dissipate in 24 hours…tomorrow some weak grey clouds will come for some time and then all will be over for this system…

    1. well..there will be two to three heavy monsoon spells of rainfall in Karachi in July and August…but keep in mind that weather changes very quickly..latest example is depression ARB 01 which 10 days ago…was showing stormy conditions in karachi today..

  2. BBC is Map not showing precipitation over karachi and nearer. This year BBC is not ready to show rains over karachi.Many other forecasters are also not showing any rains till many days. WHY IS IT SO?

  3. pakmet saying that the southern areas of pakistan will recieve 10percent below monsoon rainfall. WTF!!!!!!!!!! :@

  4. Yes, For Unfortunate sunny and hot karachi you have said right but Punjab,Nwfp and kashmir to quetta will have above normal rainfall like always and Injustice will continue with karachi. There is No chance of Meaningful rainfall over karachi this year unless some miracle happens. The most two reasons because of which i am saying one is that “Rains either die out before reaching karachi or change its path”. Secondly, Above 80% forecasters shows sunny forecast for karachi always or next day they change forecast forecast from rainy to sunny.

  5. pakmet issued the same advisory for 10% less rain in sindh / balouchistan but excluding rain bands from PHET , we did get some good amount of rains last year… and yes i can see rains coming by 20ish , thou windfarms have changed since today so get ready for some action 😛

  6. hopefully karachi will get good rains next week in the starting days just fed up of this sun and scorching heat babar bhao do let us updated abt the low pressure formed in the bay of bengal this is the only last hope before the monsoon arrival but ystrday i read that there isnt good rainfall comng to karachi this monsoon but i also pray that this comes to be wrong and karachi must see eventfull rainy daysssss……………………………………………..!!!!!

  7. Once i was searching the data about Karachi monsoon 2011 on google, I found an article
    in a site named, can’t remember the date when i found it but it was in may20’s. The following were the most important lines of the article for me :

    “Pakistan Meteorological Departement (PMD) said on wednesday that the southern parts of Pakistan including Karachi will recieve heavy rains from july till september due to Mid-Tropospheric circulations in the arabian sea.”
    This is all I remember 🙂

      1. BBC is showing heavy rains to thunder for punjab specailly lahore. I know one another website which is showing daily downpours for punjab,nwfp,kashmir etc. I do not its cause

    1. Inshallah one day karachi will get rains like Mumbai and dhaka, Times does not remains same and time will change. I do not know that when that day will come but it will surely come. When we are angry then we say karachi noob city or unfortunate and then we regret for it.

  8. what do u mean “when we are angry” we are always angry with karachi.
    Always below monsoon rains.

    basically what you’re trying to say is that we should say : “nai yr Karachi me to bht barish hoti ha Mumbai aur Dhaka ki barish to kuch bhi nai ha Karachi ki barish ke samne.” 🙂

    1. Yes, There is no name of rainfall over karachi during winter and summer and we are always angry. Even if we talk about pakistan then, whole pakistan gets downpour during winter and summer except karachi and sindh. Actually, here regret means was that ” I think that if we daily say that karachi is unfortunate or use bad words with karachi sindh then, we may get punishment from GOD. I will also try to not use word unfortunate again with karachi and sindh . We should pray for rains in karachi and someday its weather will change in to thunderstorms and cold. The most known cause that “Rains die out while reaching karachi or change its path”.

  9. ok guys know listen i want 2 say something is that inshallah inshallah we will recieve record rains in karachi in july and aug

  10. yrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr koiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii gathering rakho mausmiat wale dosto ki,with KARACHI METRO (BABAR BAI) IF U AGREE RATE MEEEE PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  11. Will Pakistan Weather Portal be changing its web address or not? Seems like most people don’t want it to change.

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