And we’re told yet again that the floods are so devastating because of man-made climate change.
I am not denying that the Pakistan floods are terrible and I’m not denying that they have caused misery and death. I also acknowledge that this year’s monsoon season has been the wettest since records began in 1961. But I do feel it’s worth testing the claim that the floods are ‘unprecedented’ and the ‘worst in history’.
What does ‘worst in history’ mean? What do politicians and the media mean when they claim these floods are ‘unprecedented’ and the ‘worst in history’? I imagine there could be three explanations:
- Most people killed by floods.
- Highest percentage of the population affected.
- Largest area of the country affected.
I looked up the data on the numbers of people killed in Pakistan in floods for the last 72 years.
Just in the last 72 years Pakistan has seen many floods. These include:
- The flood of 1950, which killed 2,910 people.
- On July 1st 1977 heavy rains and flooding in Karachi killed 248 people; according to the Pakistan meteorological department 207mm (8.1″) of rain fell in 24 hours.
- In 1992, flooding during the Monsoon season killed 1,834 people across the country.
- In 1993, flooding during Monsoon rains killed 3,084 people.
- In 2003, Sindh province was badly affected due to monsoon rains causing damages in billions and killing 178 people.
- In 2007, Cyclone Yemyin submerged the lower part of Balochistan Province in sea water, killing 380 people. Before that it killed 213 people in Karachi on its way to Balochistan.
- In 2010, almost all of Pakistan was affected when massive flooding, caused by record-breaking rains, hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. At least 2,000 people died in the flood and almost 20 million people were affected by it.