All through August 2022, various districts in Sindh and Punjab have been heavily affected by the very long monsoon season marked with lashing rain of high intensity. The monsoon rains started in July, and with Balochistan and then Karachi being the first to be impacted, flash floods, rushing water from mountains, and constant rains have impacted millions of people in rural communities across many districts in Sindh and Punjab. People have lost their homes, animal shelters, livestock; standing crops have been wiped out with huge loss of cotton and rice crop. Even though there had been prediction of intense weather spell for many months it seems that the government was ill-prepared to meet the intense destruction that the climate-emergency has unleashed. It also needs to be remembered that Climate Emergency is not a natural disaster: it is based on the intensely destructive fossil-fuel dependent capitalist mode of production. It also needs to be iterated that under the Paris Agreement, the first world rich countries continue to baulk at agreeing to take the responsibility of providing compensation for loss and damage based on climate catastrophes emitting from climate change.
Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) members in various districts of Sindh (Shikarpur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan) and Rajanpur, Punjab have been heavily impacted. Many of our members that we have been able to contact have left their villages and are either staying in shops, schools, on the roadside or with relatives. All cooking fuel (wood, animal dung) is lost or wet; many are going hungry and have very limited resources at hand. Most of their saved wheat and rice grains have been lost, also. Some have also lost their livestock.
The PKMT Steering Committee held an emergency meeting and few actions have been agreed upon.
A press conference on Aug 30 in Sukkur Press Club is going to be held to emphasise government’s criminal negligence in safeguarding against the current situation and lack of relief initiatives as well as for demanding immediate government support, as well as develop mobilization on holding rich industrialized countries accountable for the continuous debilitating destruction, debt, hunger and misery faced by the poorest most vulnerable populations, especially women, children, elderly and the disabled persons.
A solidarity visit of PKMT members from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa will happen as soon as the rain stops and allows passage possible. The group will also be able to assess what is needed to help out PKMT members in need. We are also thinking ahead for October- November when it will be the wheat sowing season. If farmers are not able to carry out sowing in November, there will be an acute shortage of wheat further exacerbating the current crisis.