Watch flood damage in Pakistan through these satellite images

Pakistan is currently facing the worst flood in its history.
Ameya Paleja
Pakistan inundated.
Pakistan inundated.

ESA 

Heavy rains since the month of June have ravaged the country of Pakistan. Images captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 show us the extent of the flooding, the European Space Agency said in a press release.

In case, you aren't aware of what is happening in Pakistan, this will help you get to speed.

While global media attention was largely on the heatwaves in the U.S. and the ongoing drought in Europe, Pakistan on the other side of the globe has been receiving incessant rainfall since June.

The country is already prone to extremities in weather, with temperatures soaring above 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52oC) in some places during summer and the coldest parts recording -29 degrees Fahrenheit (-34oC) during winter. Over the past few years, the region has also experienced heavy rains and floods. However, the recent floods have been described as the worst in its history, by the current prime minister of Pakistan.

The extent of the floods

According to the ESA, Pakistan has received 10 times more than the average rainfall it gets during this time of the year. As a result, the Indus river, Pakistan's longest and largest river, has spilled far beyond its banks and has ended up creating a lake that is over 60 miles (100 km) long and over six miles (10 km) wide.

The images marked in blue to black mark land areas that are submerged under the water, which includes the western parts of the country, along with the border it shares with neighboring Afghanistan.

The floods have so far claimed more than 1,100 lives and washed away crops, infrastructure, and even homes. One in seven Pakistanis is estimated to have been affected by the floods, which is about 33 million people.

The damage caused by the floods is expected to cost upwards of $10 billion.

What caused the floods?

According to an Al Jazeera report, Pakistan experienced a heatwave in the month of May that resulted in the excessive melting of its mountain glaciers. This saturated the soil with moisture, which coupled with excessive rains this year, made the floods worse.

Climatologists have already warned us about such extreme events and the need for decarbonization at the earliest. With Pakistan's carbon emission contribution estimated to be less than one percent, it is evident that the effects of climate change might be borne by others on the planet.

Technologies such as ESA's Copernicus Sentinel carry sensitive instruments to capture data through clouds and rainy skies. It can be pressed into service to generate flood maps that will help emergency responders during a crisis.

However, the decision to accelerate decarbonization and mitigate the impact of changing climate rests with us.

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