Vol. 14 (2023): The Pakistani Floods of 2022: How Vulnerability is Amplified by Climate Change and Political Policy
As the global economy has evolved, there has been a magnification and intensification of interactions between the environment and people. The risk and vulnerability produced by these interactions, which pollute and degrade the environment for material gain, will only be lessened once this relationship is fully appreciated. Over time, climate change has made the monsoon system’s fluctuations more drastic in the Indian Ocean World (IOW), creating more significant and devastating storms in South Asia. Climate change amplifies vulnerability while economic, political, and agricultural practices increase vulnerability to floods. For example, this article discusses the magnification of vulnerability that occurred during the devastation of flooding in Pakistan in the summer of 2022 due to poor developmental planning, extractive political institutions, and climate change interactions. This article will analyze the crucial leverage points in Pakistan’s unjust political and economic systems to grasp how Pakistani governance limits mobility, agency, and education. It will highlight how poverty and the factors purposely limiting upward mobility magnify vulnerability to natural disasters. The true effect of the floods is not any one impact, but the disempowerment that a combination of every impact causes. When the effect of these impacts coalesce with the destruction of entire communities’ homes and livelihoods, millions lose their autonomy and become dependent on help from politically and economically active figures of authority who lack an appreciation for the roadblocks communities in rural Pakistan face. These figures also often have a vested interest in keeping these communities disempowered and vulnerable for personal financial gain.