Since mid-June 2022, Pakistan has been drenched by extreme
monsoon rains that have led to the country’s worst flooding
in a decade. According to Pakistan’s National Disaster
Management Authority, the floods have affected more than
33 million people and destroyed or damaged more than 1 million
houses. At least 1,100 people were killed by floodwaters that
inundated tens of thousands of square kilometers of the country.
The false-color images above were acquired by the Operational Land Imagers
aboard the Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites on August 4 and 28, respectively.
The images combine shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red light (bands 6-5-4)
to better distinguish flood waters (deep blue) beyond their natural channels.
The worst flooding occurred along the Indus River in the provinces of Punjab,
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh. The provinces of Balochistan
and Sindh have so far this year received five to six times their 30-year
average rainfall. Most of that arrived in summer monsoon rains.
Across the country, about 150 bridges and 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles)
of roads have been destroyed, according to ReliefWeb. More than 700,000
livestock and 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been lost.
The image above, acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite
(VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on August 31, 2022, shows the extent of
flooding in the region. The image uses a combination of near-infrared and
visible light to make it easier to see where rivers are out of their banks
and spread across floodplains.
The immense volume of rain- and meltwater inundated the dams, reservoirs,
canals, and channels of the country’s large and highly developed irrigation
system. On August 31, the Indus River System Authority authorized some
releases from dams because the water flowing in threatened to exceed the
capacity of several reservoirs.
In the southern reaches of the Indus watershed, the deluge has turned plains
into seas. These detailed images show the districts of Qambar and Shikarpur
in Sindh province, which from July 1 to August 31 received 500 percent more
rainfall than average.
The effect of the monsoon rains has been compounded by the continued melting
of Pakistan’s 7,000 glaciers. The country holds the most glacial ice found
outside the polar regions. Climate warming and recent heat waves have precipitated
several glacial-outburst floods. In the rugged northern part of the country,
the combined rain and meltwater has turned slopes into hill torrents.
On August 30, the Pakistani government declared a national emergency and,
with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,
called for international aid for humanitarian relief efforts.
Pakistan last faced such dramatic and widespread flooding in 2010.
Nasa earth observatory
Provided by the IKCEST Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Service System