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PM Sharif describes Pakistan as a 'sea of water' after floods; calls for action on climate change

As many as 1,508 people have died and 12,758 injured since June 14 this year in the devastating floods that have submerged about a third of Pakistan.

September 16, 2022 03:58 pm | Updated 03:58 pm IST - Samarkand

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders’ summit in Samarkand, on September 16, 2022.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders’ summit in Samarkand, on September 16, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday told the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation that Pakistan looked like "a sea of water" after unprecedented floods hit his country and called for immediate action to tackle climate change.

Mr. Sharif was addressing the SCO's Council of Heads of State (CHS) Summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, where he spoke about the climate catastrophe that has led to cataclysmic floods that killed more than 1,500 persons and affected over 33 million people.

As many as 1,508 people have died and 12,758 injured since June 14 this year in the devastating floods that have submerged about a third of Pakistan.

"The devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change-induced. It is the result of climate change, cloud outbursts, and unprecedented rains, combined with hill torrents coming down. All this put together makes Pakistan look like a sea of water," Mr. Sharif said.

The floods brought by record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern mountains have also swept away hundreds of thousands of homes, vehicles, crops, and livestock, leading to an estimated loss of $30 billion.

Human-caused climate change may have played a role in the deadly floods that submerged parts of Pakistan in recent weeks, according to an analysis looking at how much global warming was to blame for this extreme event.

Researchers from the World Weather Attribution group say climate change may have increased the intensity of rainfall. However there were many uncertainties in the results, so the team was unable to quantify the scale of the impact.

The team, including scientists from Pakistan, India, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand, the U.S. and the U.K., used published, peer-reviewed methods to perform an event attribution study.

Mr. Sharif is visiting Uzbekistan to attend the first in-person summit in Samarkand after two years of pandemic-related pause.

Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.

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