A Growing Concern | Political economics

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he global climate change crisis has been a cause for concern for some time. Extreme and unexpected climate change continues to disrupt lives everywhere. Changing weather conditions have deeply affected many coastal communities. More recently, the village of Haji Muhmmad Sadique Faqeerani Jat, Keti Bander, Thatta, comprising some 600 households, was affected by seawater intrusion and tidal flooding.

“The sea was once a blessing to coastal communities, especially fishermen. It has now become a challenge,” says Natho Jat, a resident of one of the 150 villages along the coast. Over the past two weeks, many wooden houses in the area have been submerged by flooding. Several villages including Haji Qasim Mir Jat, Haji Mir Jat, Esa Kangarro, Muhmmad Ali Sholani, Suleman Sholani, Muhmmad Hassan Machhi, Muhmmad Jat, Haji Abu Jat in Keti Bunder, Ghorra Bari and Kharochan were affected by the floods caused by the tidal changes. Over the past two weeks, several wooden houses in the area have been submerged.

For the fishing community, tidal flooding is not a seasonal nuisance. It is a constant reality. Disasters linked to climate change have destroyed the lives of these people and made them more vulnerable.

The villages located in the disaster area have 17 streams. Many families have lived on various islands and small villages near the coast for centuries.

Nadeem Mirbahar, an ecologist, working with the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, says: “Marine erosion occurs due to marine intrusion. Sea levels are rising due to climate change and melting glaciers. He adds, “In the absence of abundant river water flow and silt loading, land formation and mud-forming processes ceased. As a result, the sea began to intrude on the land. Wave action continuously eroded the land.

According to Mirbahar, “the landscapes of the Indus delta are gradually changing and going under the sea. The ecosystems are seriously affected. The fish found in the mixed coastal waters are no longer abundant and the mangroves are under pressure. With the disappearance of the mudflats, we also lose the mangroves. Poverty in these coastal areas is increasing.

The coastal territory of Sindh is drawn between the Indian border along Sir Creek. The Indus delta is the fifth largest in the world. It is now eroded by the sea in Thatta, Sajawal and Badin districts. “Every day the sword of calamity hangs over us, every day we face sea intrusion due to climate change,” says another resident of Keti Bander.

It was once a major port on the Arabian Sea. It is about 102 kilometers from Makli Hill in Thatta, the largest historic burial site in the world.

Natho Jat isn’t the only one upset by the change. Thousands of people are suffering because there is little hope. Many are already homeless.

A growing concern

According to the Risk Management Index (INFORM) 2018, Pakistan’s risk rating is 6.4 out of 10. The country continues to suffer from natural and man-made hazards that threaten to affect lives and livelihoods. livelihood of its citizens. Locals say that 3.5 to 4.5 million acres of fertile land in the Indus Delta have been affected by flash floods and sea intrusion. They estimate that about 100 acres of land in the delta are lost daily due to seawater intrusion.

“These days, the tides are very high. June and July are the peak months for the Arabian Sea tide. Coastal and marine environments have been disrupted by changing weather conditions. About 95% of the population has left for safer areas,” says Ali Raza Wanjaro, a social activist based in Kharo Chhan. “Previously, this region had abundant agricultural activity. Slowly, agricultural production fell to zero,” he adds.

Wanjaro complains that only Edhi volunteers tried to rescue the trapped people. Others, he says, have left people at the mercy of nature. He adds that provincial and national disaster management authorities did not quickly take notice of the worsening situation or provide immediate relief. He says there is a massive shortage of clean water, food and medicine for affected communities.

According to the Risk Management Index (INFORM) 2018, Pakistan’s risk rating is 6.4 out of 10. The country continues to suffer from natural and man-made hazards that threaten to affect lives and livelihoods. livelihood of its citizens. Locals say 3.5 to 4.5 million acres of fertile land in the Indus Delta have been affected by flash floods and intrusions. They estimate that around 100 acres of land in the delta is lost every day due to seawater intrusion.

According to Mirbahar, “the lack of flows of the Indus River and the degradation of the mangroves are the main factors behind the economic and ecological downfall”. The ecologist adds “the government of Sindh has tried to restore the mangrove territories in the coastal areas, but in the absence of fresh water flow in the Indus, ecosystem restoration projects are affected”. He says that “a large, rich agricultural area has been encroached by the sea”.

The sea is the main source of income for many. Natural water resources and fishing constitute an important part of the country’s economy. The culture and way of life of coastal communities has revolved and evolved around the sea. However, creeping tidal changes alter the bond. Flooding has forced villagers to turn to fishing boats and speedboats. Some are fighting for their survival on the mangroves. Pakistan has the seventh largest mangrove forest system in the world. Mangroves are the front line guardians – they break the sea tides. “In the past, there were dense mangrove forests, but now they are also under threat,” says Wanjaro. He says, “Mangrove wood is used for commercial purposes. There were a few small lines of defense (zameendari dyke) for protection that have been damaged by high tides.

A few years ago, Allah Dano Mallah, moved to the outskirts of Thatta after a long battle against climate change. Her family is part of the migrant coastal community. He adopted a new livelihood. “I own a donkey cart, which is used to transport goods from one place to another in the city,” he says. “I earn a thousand rupees a day. Although it is not a large sum, it feeds my family and motivates me to do better. He adds that “there are better facilities in the city, including clean water, schools and a civilian hospital.”

Climate change, global warming and dry weather patterns do not favor anglers. These communities continue to face new challenges and, with their livelihoods threatened, live in a constant state of fear.


The writer is a Based in Hyderabad environmental journalist


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