Pakistan faces some of the highest disaster risk levels in the world, ranked 18 out of 191 countries by the 2019 Inform Risk Index. This risk is driven particularly by the nation’s exposure to earthquakes and the risks of internal conflict. However, Pakistan also has high exposure to flooding, including, riverine, flash, and coastal, as well as some exposure to tropical cyclones and their associated hazards, and drought. Disaster risk in Pakistan is also driven by its social vulnerability. Pakistan’s vulnerability ranking (37 out of 191) is driven by its high rates of multidimensional poverty. Pakistan scores slightly better in terms of its coping capacity.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Pakistan regularly experiences some of the highest maximum temperatures in the world, with many regions experiencing temperatures of 38°C and above on an annual basis. When weather patterns converge to deliver prolonged periods of heatwave, serious human health impacts can result. During the 2015 heatwave in Pakistan over 65,000 people were hospitalized with heat stroke.
- Pakistan's annual median probability of severe meteorological drought is around 3% and projected to increase under all emissions pathways, with very strong increases under higher emissions pathways. Droughts are in some cases associated with El Niño events and can cause significant damage to crop and livelihoods, as in the consecutive droughts of 1999 and 2000, which caused crop failure and mass starvation.
- UNISDR places Pakistan’s average annual losses to flood at around $1 billion. The unusually large rainfall from the 2010 monsoon caused the most catastrophic flooding in Pakistan’s history, flooding one-fifth of the country, affecting 20 million people, and claiming over 2,000 lives. The impact of this event emphasized the nation’s vulnerability to flooding also in economic terms.
- Between 1997–2015, Pakistan experienced about 126 heat waves, around 7 per year. Over 1,200 heat-related deaths resulted from a severe heatwave in 2015, primarily focused in Sindh Province. The multi-model ensemble projects an increase in the median annual probability of a heatwave in any given region from 3% to 4–23% depending on the emissions pathway.
- While uncertainty is high, the model ensemble projection would suggest that severe drought conditions (SPEI
- Drought frequency is increasing in already arid and semi-arid areas. The frequency of severe drought is increasing in Pakistan’s wetter northern areas.
- As of 2010, assuming protection for up to a 1-in-25 year event, the population annually affected by flooding in Pakistan is estimated at 714,000 people and expected annual impact on GDP at $1.7 billion. Development and climate change are both likely to increase these figures.
- Projected increases in warming are certain, but less certain projected increases in extreme rainfall events can lead to flooding disasters such as those experienced in 2010, and monitoring mechanisms need to be implemented to reduce these impacts.
- The low-lying coastal regions of Pakistan, including the city of Karachi, are at significant risk from projected sea-level rise, facing up to 40cm rise by the end of the 21st century even under conservative scenarios.
- Rising temperatures and the increased potential of record-breaking heat waves could place severe stress on food production in arid regions, with implications for disaster response.