As daybreak breaks over Javed Rahi’s mountain village, a loud increase shatters the silence and a torrent of water comes cascading down from the melting glacier close by, adopted by a thick cloud of smoke.
Rahi, a retired maths trainer, had been attributable to attend his nephew’s wedding ceremony the day the flood rushed by the village of Hassanabad in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan area.
“I anticipated girls and kids to sing and dance … As a substitute, I heard them screaming in terror,” the 67-year-old stated. “It was like doomsday.”
The flood, which occurred as a heatwave gripped South Asia in Might, swept away 9 houses within the village and broken half a dozen extra.
The water additionally washed away two small hydro crops and a bridge that related the distant neighborhood to the skin world.
Pakistan is residence to greater than 7,000 glaciers, greater than wherever else on Earth outdoors the poles.
However rising international temperatures linked to local weather change are inflicting the glaciers to quickly soften, creating 1000’s of glacial lakes.
The federal government has warned that 33 of those lakes, all situated within the spectacular Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges that intersect in Pakistan, are vulnerable to bursting and releasing thousands and thousands of cubic metres of water and particles in only a few hours, like in Hassanabad.
Not less than 16 such glacial lake outburst floods linked to heatwaves have occurred this yr already, in contrast with a median of 5 or 6 per yr, the Pakistani authorities stated earlier this week.
The devastation attributable to such floods makes restoration for affected communities an arduous job.
After catastrophe struck Hassanabad, Rahi and fellow villagers who misplaced their houses needed to transfer to a close-by camp for displaced folks.
Inside their makeshift tents are the few belongings they managed to salvage and mattresses to sleep on.
“We by no means thought we’d fall from riches to rags,” Rahi stated.
Pakistan is the world’s eighth most weak nation to excessive climate attributable to local weather change, based on the World Local weather Danger Index compiled by the environmental NGO, Germanwatch.
The nation is experiencing earlier, hotter and extra frequent heatwaves, with temperatures already hitting 50 levels Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) this yr.
Floods and droughts in recent times have killed and displaced 1000’s of individuals, destroyed livelihoods and broken infrastructure.
Based on the United Nations Improvement Programme, a lack of knowledge on glacial modifications in Pakistan makes it tough to foretell hazards originating from them.
Residence to greater than 220 million folks, Pakistan says it’s accountable for lower than one p.c of worldwide greenhouse gasoline emissions.
But it stays extremely weak to local weather change results, depending on climate-sensitive sectors resembling agriculture and pure sources.