–Hyderabad tops list of vulnerable hotspot districts among Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sukkur
–Karachi prone to substantial risk of flood-related damage over the next century
LAHORE: Sindh province is the most vulnerable hotspot – areas where changes in average weather will adversely affect living standards – in Pakistan, according to a World Bank report published on Thursday.
The report titled “South Asia’s Hotspots” predicted that Sindh, being the country’s second-largest economy, will suffer from changes in living conditions due to the fluctuations in average weather, followed by Punjab. “Changes in average weather will add another dimension to the future growth of Sindh, given its high vulnerability,” it reads.
The study found that Hyderabad district in the province is the top hotspot followed by the districts of Mirpur Khas and Sukkur. Other densely populated cities in Punjab, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan, emerge among the top 10 hotspot districts in the country.
The report aims to highlight “the importance of addressing changes in average weather in the economically important Punjab and Sindh provinces”. It is warned that long-term climate vulnerability will have implications regarding growth and poverty reduction in Punjab.
Southwestern Pakistan and northern Pakistan have seen 2°C and 0.5°C increase in average temperatures during the last 60 years, respectively.
The report confirms, “Western Afghanistan and southwestern Pakistan have experienced the largest increases, with annual average temperatures rising by 1.0°C to 3.0°C from 1950 to 2010. Southeastern India, western Sri Lanka, northern Pakistan, and eastern Nepal have all experienced increases of 1.0°C to 1.5°C over the same period.”
SOUTH ASIA, A VULNERABLE REGION:
The World Bank suggested that South Asia has become increasingly vulnerable to climate change. It reasoned that both hot and cold extremes are challenging for human well-being, and thus climate change heightens these challenges.
“Temperatures in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are already above their optimal values… further increase in average temperature will have a negative effect on consumption expenditure,” the report reads.
Increasing average temperatures and changes in seasonal rainfall patterns are affecting the agriculture across South Asia. Low-lying Bangladesh and the Maldives are increasingly vulnerable to flooding and cyclones in the Indian Ocean.
“Such events [of climate change] will continue to intensify over the coming decades. Dhaka, Karachi, Kolkata, and Mumbai face a substantial risk of flood-related damage over the next century,” the study warns, informing that the average annual temperatures throughout many parts of South Asia have unevenly increased during the recent decades.
The study recommends the South Asians to identify such hotspots in their countries. It says, “[The study of] changes in average weather allows to design strategies to cope with climate impacts with a great level of spatial granularity.”
According to the report, it is worth spending to mitigate the impacts of climate change because of the expected decline in living standards resulting from expected changes in temperature and rainfall. The relationship between expected changes in living standards, and observed household and location characteristics—such as human capital and infrastructure— will provide valuable hint on potential interventions for building resilience.
It emphasiss on tailored policies and actions to address the specific impacts locally.