While the world’s attention is drawn to tragedies of great geopolitical gravity, as in Ukraine, or of a certain dynastic sadness, as in Great Britain, the worst flood that humanity has known for years is taking place further east, heralding what awaits us all if we do not radically change our mode of development.

In Pakistan, since the beginning of the summer, in the indifference of the rest of the world, a whole series of gigantic climatic events have accumulated, each of which would have been enough to create a catastrophe: First, an intense heat (the temperature reached 51 degrees in Jacobabad, a level never reached before in the northern hemisphere); this led to a much more massive melting than usual of the Himalayan glaciers, whose waters flowed towards the Indus, destroying in the process a large number of dams and agricultural installations in this region which feeds the country. This was followed by a particularly severe monsoon, to which was added a very deep depression in the Arabian Sea, which aggravated the rains. In total, twice as much water fell in Pakistan in 2022 as the annual average; five times as much in the southern provinces. And as the dryness of the air caused the dryness of the soil, the water could not be absorbed and the floods began. Immense: they cover today more than a third of the country’s territory, the equivalent of the surface of Great Britain; in the south of the country, a new gigantic lake was formed.

More than 1500 bodies have been found, which are probably only a small part of the victims. More than 30 million people had to leave their homes, destroyed or damaged; only one million of them were able to be rehoused in makeshift camps; the others are now mostly homeless, in the mud and in nothingness. In these regions, there are no longer any hospitals or schools. There is no food or drinking water either.

Help cannot arrive because more than 6,000 kilometers of roads are impassable and more than 250 bridges have been destroyed. The damage is estimated at more than 30 billion dollars. And appeals to the international community have not yet raised much more than one hundredth of that amount.
Moreover, no one dares to openly ask the obvious question: should Pakistan be rebuilt if another climate disaster, which is bound to happen again, is to come in five or ten years, or less, and destroy again what would have been rebuilt?

So, should we leave the Pakistanis to their fate? It would be a great injustice: the Pakistanis have nothing to do with the climate crisis: if they are 220 million, or 3% of the world population, they are responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

What will become of them? Are we going to watch 30 million people die of hunger, lack of water and disease?

In developed countries, and in France in particular, we do not rebuild in flood-prone areas, and we do everything possible to rehouse, and sometimes compensate, those who have to leave their sometimes ancestral homes. Will we be able to do this for the Pakistanis? Will we be able to, will we want to, relocate them elsewhere? No, of course not. Many will die; thousands, if not millions, will emigrate. But where will they go? Do we realize what this means for this country, for the Indian subcontinent, for the neighboring Middle East, for the world?

When will we understand that this situation is our responsibility and that it concerns us all? That if we do nothing to prevent the worsening of the climate situation, that is to say to stop using greenhouse gases as soon as possible, we will experience more and more catastrophes of this kind.

When will we understand that we must, without waiting for 2050 or even 2030, drastically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels?

When will we also understand that we cannot pretend to be satisfied with adapting to a much higher temperature level? Humanity will not be able to live at a temperature level that would trigger catastrophes condemning hundreds of millions of humans to see their entire lives fall into nothingness at regular intervals.

This is not unrelated to the other events that concern us more directly, mentioned at the beginning: it is in Great Britain that the immoderate use of fossil fuels began; and it is in Ukraine that the acceleration of our reduction of consumption of these poisons is being played out.

We are all concerned by what is happening in this country. We are all Pakistanis.