Climate change, poverty and environmental crisis in the disaster prone areas of Pakistan (2009)

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This study was commissioned to review the impact of climate change on Pakistan's rural disaster-prone communities in Badin (Sindh), Rajanpur (Punjab), and Khuzdar (Balochistan). The study's aim was to review community perceptions of the impact of global warming and recommend coping mechanisms for affected communities. The findings will support different organisations and institutions to initiate adaptation programmes. This report has helped Oxfam GB to initiate an adaptation programme in the coastal communities of Pakistan. The findings of the study are remarkably consistent with global, regional, and national climate change projections and alarming clearly show that environmental problems in the three districts are serious and growing, and climate change is exacerbating them. Poor and marginalised communities tend to be those most vulnerable to climate change and least able to cope with weather-related disasters because of lack of access to information and resources to reduce their risk. Key findings There has been an increase in the incidence, frequency, and intensity of extreme climatic events: more intense and heavier rainfall in coastal areas, more intense cyclones, more intense flooding in flood-prone areas along the Indus, and more pronounced droughts in the arid areas of Khuzdar.
  • In most areas, rainfall patterns have become very erratic, making it difficult for communities to predict local rainfall patterns.
  • The duration of the cropping period has shrunk perceptibly in southern Punjab and Balochistan, with a forward shift in sowing time and an earlier harvest.
  • Summers have become hotter and winters much warmer across the areas studied.
  • Traditional coping mechanisms used to deal with water shortages; declines in fish catch; and reduced agricultural produce are no longer enough to counter the immense impact of climate change.
Key recommendations
  • Use of more heat/drought-tolerant crop varieties in areas under water stress.
  • Improve flood management through mobilised communities (flood management village committees).
  • Develop fisheries' management capabilities to cope with impacts of climate change.
  • Improve the use/storage of rainwater through covered piped irrigation channels for drought-prone areas.
Language: English
Imprint: Oxfam GB Regional Research Report: 2009
Series: Report,