Plunder by US,  industrialized countries responsible for the 33 million flood-stricken, homeless Pakistanis says APRN

The Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) calls for urgent support for the people of Pakistan after the devastating flash floods affecting 15% of its population. The months’ worth of monsoon rains that have been more than 300% than normal has incurred at least $10 billion worth of damages, leading to a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions. 

“Pakistan is only responsible for less than 1% of CO2 emissions yet it suffers greatly from climate catastrophe with a third of the country currently underwater,” said APRN Chairperson Azra Talat Sayeed. 

Azra Sayeed

Floods resulted in the displacement of at least 184,000 people from their homes. An estimated 33 million people are left sleeping out in the open, in evacuation camps, makeshift shelters, and even in dilapidated buildings that could collapse anytime. There is now widespread disease being reported and an urgent need for access to safe drinking water.

Currently, 116 districts were gravely affected, with over 2 million acres of crops devastated, including cotton which accounts for a quarter of Pakistan’s economy. More than 793,900 livestock have been lost, which are critical sources of sustenance and livelihood for the people of Pakistan. 

“Pakistan and other nations in the global south, have contributed relatively little to the world’s climate problem but bear much of the burden. The plunder perpetuated by multinational corporations and industrialized countries in Pakistan has devastated 33 million people,” says Sayeed, the Executive Director of  Roots for Equity Pakistan.  

REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

“These same actors who have, and continue to benefit from Pakistan’s natural resources have no intention of curbing environmental degradation. They will continue extracting resources and exploit labor in Pakistan while its citizens are left to suffer and fend for themselves,” says APRN member organization, Roots for Equity. 

According to APRN, this humanitarian crisis is happening as big businesses and rich capitalist nations are not committing to reduce their CO2 emissions nor forwarding any genuine solution to the climate emergency. On the other hand, actions to protect and build the resilience of communities and vulnerable communities are not receiving enough support. 

In the last COP26, negotiations have failed to commit to the phase-out of fossil fuels and instead relied on false solutions. According to APRN member IBON International, some developed countries pledged net-zero targets, founded on carbon capture technologies that are risky and unproven. Moreover, the last UN COP 26 callously changed the term “phase out” to “phase down” concerning the reduction of coal-fired power globally after objections from China and India. 

Following the aftermath of the “monster monsoon” in Pakistan, the US is quick to take advantage of the catastrophe in the name of humanitarian aid. In a press statement released by the US Central Command (CENTCOM), it will be sending its team to Islamabad to determine what potential support the US Department of Defense could provide for Pakistan through USAID. 

“These same actors who have, and continue to benefit from Pakistan’s natural resources have no intention of curbing environmental degradation. They will continue extracting resources and exploit labor in Pakistan while its citizens are left to suffer and fend for themselves,”

In a separate statement by Roots for Equity, the US imperialist policies are responsible for the acute economic disaster faced by Pakistan and many neo-colonial countries. 

“Though a quick long-term solution to mitigate the current debacle in Pakistan is necessary, rich capitalist countries and the ruling elite are not interested in meaningful solutions that will ultimately lead to sustainable development and people’s prosperity,” says Roots for Equity. 

“This climate catastrophe in Pakistan that killed and injured thousands and devastated millions grimly exposed how powerful countries can generously fund billions of dollars to wars of aggression but have committed next to nothing when it comes to genuine climate solutions,” Sayeed added. 

APRN calls for continuous support for the people of Pakistan. The research network continues to demand climate and economic justice. It also holds capitalist countries and mega-corporations accountable for the catastrophic effects of climate change across the world in their relentless pursuit of profit and competitive advantage. 

(Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP)

APRN together with its member organization, Roots for Equity, and local farmers group Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) are leading a global relief drive for those affected. Food and relief packs including pit latrines will be provided to the affected provinces and far-flung areas where many are going hungry and have very limited resources due to the loss of saved grains, livestock, and livelihood.

“This current humanitarian crisis demands concrete action by the government. Moreover, the major plunderers of the environment must be held accountable for the hunger and poverty from which they continue to profit,” Sayeed ended. #