Natural Disasters Common In Pakistan and their Impact

natural disasters cause property damage, deaths, etc

INTRODUCTION

Pakistan has a history of natural disasters. The country is prone to earthquakes and floods very often. Climate change is affecting the environment of Pakistan and bringing extreme weather events.

NATURAL DISASTER

It is a natural but catastrophic event that results in human and livelihood losses. There is a number of natural hazards that hit Pakistan seasonally or occasionally.

Check out Climate Change Adaptation Methods and Mitigation Strategies

1. EARTHQUAKES

This term is defined as the sudden shaking of the Earth’s surface due to seismic waves. These waves are created by the instant release of energy from the Earth’s lithosphere.

CAUSES

  • Underground tectonic plates movement
  • Human Activities such as fracking projects
  • Volcanic Eruptions

EFFECTS

  • Landslides
  • Deaths
  • Tsunamis
  • Ground failures

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO EARTHQUAKE

The listed areas are prone to earthquakes due to fault lines. These areas are present over the north-western edge of the Indian Plate.

  • Sindh
  • Azad Kashmir
  • Punjab

MAJOR EARTHQUAKES OF PAKISTAN

  • 1983 Gilgit Baltistan
  • 1992 Kohat Division
  • 1997Balochistan
  • 2005 Kashmir

2. HURRICANES

This term is also known as a tropical cyclone. It is a fast rotating storm with lower pressure at the center that formed over the tropical and subtropical waters. It is specified by a spiral array of thunderstorms, heavy winds, low level air circulations that are producing heavy rains.

CAUSES

  • Warm Water
  • Light winds
  • Moist warm air

EFFECTS

  • Tornadoes
  • Heavy rains
  • property damage and deaths
  • Floods

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO HURRICANES

The areas prone to hurricanes in Pakistan include the coasts of Pakistan.

  • Balochistan- Gawadar
  • Sindh – Karachi

MAJOR HURRICANES OF PAKISTAN

  • 2004 Cyclone Onil
  • 2007 Cyclone Yemyin
  • 2009 Cyclone Phyan
  • 2010 Cyclone Phet

3. SANDSTORMS

This term is also known as a dust storm. It is defined as a natural phenomenon in which the heavy winds blow and carry clouds of loose dirt and sand from dry surfaces such as deserts. Sandstorms occur frequently in arid and semi-arid regions.

CAUSES

  • Strong Winds

EFFECTS

  • Respiratory Problems
  • Skin Irritations
  • Accidents

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO SANDSTORMS

The areas of Pakistan prone to sandstorms are arid and semi-arid regions.

  • Sindh – Thar
  • Punjab – Cholistan and Thal
  • Balochistan – Kharan

MAJOR SANDSTORMS OF PAKISTAN

  • 1993 Windstorm
  • 2003 Pale Dust
  • 2005 Duststorm
  • 2019 Duststorm

4. FLOODS

This term is defined as a natural disaster in which the water overflows from water bodies such as streams, rivers, lakes, etc.

SEASONAL AND FLASH FLOOD

These are two types of floods.

Seasonal Floods: Seasonal flood occurs in rivers due to seasonal rainfall, or melting of snow/glaciers. It causes property loss.

Flash Floods: Flash flood is also a river flood but it is more catastrophic in nature and causes human and property losses.

CAUSES

  • Ocean Waves
  • Heavy Rainfall
  • Melting glaciers/snow

EFFECTS

  • Livestock damage
  • Deaths
  • Property losses
  • Damage to Crops

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO FLOODS

The areas prone to floods in Pakistan are listed below. The reason is monsoon rainfall.

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Sindh
  • Punjab

MAJOR FLOODS OF PAKISTAN

  • 1992 Floods
  • 1998 Floods
  • 2010 Pakistan Floods
  • 2011 Sindh Floods

5. LANDSLIDES

This term is defined as the widespread collapse of the heavy mass of Earth either from the mountain/cliff or ground movements. It includes debris flow, mudflows, rockfall, etc.

CAUSES

  • Slope instability
  • Earthquake
  • Rainfall

EFFECTS

  • Damage to Natural Resources
  • Deaths
  • Infracsteucture Destruction

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO LANDSLIDES

The areas of Pakistan prone to frequent landslides include northern Pakistan.

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Gilgit Baltistan

MAJOR LANDSLIDES OF PAKISTAN

  • 2005 Earthquake Landslide
  • 2010 Hunza Landslide
  • 2016 Kohistan Landslide
  • 2017 Gilgit Baltistan Landslide

6. AVALANCHES

This term is defined as the sudden downwards flow of snow from a mountain or hill.

CAUSES

  • Heavy Snowfall
  • Human activities such as Winter Sports/ Vibrations
  • Heavy winds
  • Snowstorms

EFFECTS

  • Damage to houses
  • Lost Travel Route
  • Ski Resort Destruction

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO AVALANCHES

The areas of Pakistan prone to avalanches include northern Pakistan.

  • Kashmir
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

MAJOR AVALANCHES OF PAKISTAN

  • 2010 Kohistan Avalanche
  • 2012 Gayari Sector Avalanche
  • 2019n Avalanche
  • 2020 Kashmir Avalanche

7. DROUGHT

This term is defined as prolonged dry weather or an extreme shortage of water supply whether surface, ground or atmospheric water.

CAUSES

  • Dry weather condition
  • Water Scarcity

EFFECTS

  • Wildfires
  • Deaths
  • Economic losses

AREAS OF PAKISTAN PRONE TO DROUGHTS

The areas of Pakistan prone to droughts are listed below. The is water scarcity issues.

  • Sindh
  • Balochistan
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

MAJOR DROUGHTS OF PAKISTAN

  • 1951 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Drought
  • 1947 Sindh Drought
  • 1999 Sindh Drought
  • 2000 Balochistan Drought

MAJOR PAST NATURAL DISASTER EVENTS IN PAKISTAN

Below, there is a list of few major events of natural disasters that occurred in Pakistan.

The 2000 Baluchistan Drought: Due to the drought in Baluchistan in 2000, more than 1.2 million people were afflicted.

The 2005 Azad Kashmir Earthquake: Thee earthquake of 7.6 magnitudes hit various parts of Pakistan in 2005. There were aftershocks felt in different regions. More than 80000 people died and economic losses were huge.

The 2010 Landslide in Hunza Lake: In northern Pakistan, a massive landslide in the region of Hunza valley created Attabad Lake. More than 20 people died and 26 homes were destroyed.

The 2010 Floods: It was a result of heavy monsoon rains in the regions of Baluchistan, Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It caused property damage worth $43 billion and more than 1,781 people died.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES FOR NATURAL DISASTER

Disaster management techniques are mentioned below.

  • There should be announcements or weather predictions about the upcoming natural disaster.
  • A disaster management plan should be prepared beforehand with all necessary instructions.
  • Prior precautionary measures should be adopted to avoid damages.
  • The public should be made aware of natural disasters, precautionary measures, and management strategies.
  • There should always be a recovery plan for any natural disaster.

CONCLUSION

Natural disasters occur spontaneously.  Sometimes human negligence triggers natural disasters such as avalanches, rockfalls. Human-induced climate change is already showing extreme consequences. A natural disaster cannot be avoided. The only solution is precautionary measures that could be adopted to lessen negative effects.

Also, check out Increasing Natural Disasters due to Climate Change

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