In a commentary published in Dawn newspaper, Zeba Sathar, Senior Associate and Country Director, writes that the current climate tragedy facing Pakistan is a loud alarm call for sustainable solutions that must also tackle inequality and rising poverty.
"We have neglected the reproductive health of the millions of women and children already lacking family planning, delivery and maternal care services. Much alarm has been expressed that close to a million women in the most severely affected areas are currently pregnant. But it should come as no surprise that those regions most adversely affected by the floods are the ones with the highest fertility, maternal and child mortality rates."
"For a decade or more, thousands have been forced to migrate annually from their homes devastated by droughts, forest fires and floods. Year after year, they must give up everything and start again. Despite their poverty and illiteracy, many living in the climate vulnerable zones know that their best chance for survival is to move to an urban area. Only a few fortunate enough to own land or have an education make it to the urbanised districts which are more resilient to climate change. Yet even there, the glaringly obvious exponential increase in urban populations that puts a strain on existing resources goes unaddressed."
"Obvious recommendations are building resilience through adaptation in agriculture, dams for water storage and energy usage, and infrastructure development. However, the underlying deeper problems which face our nation in its 75th year of existence, need to be tackled with greater urgency."
"Have we consciously neglected the escalation of inequalities and rising swathes of poverty over the last two decades?"
Read the commentary in Dawn.