Pakistan among 23 countries most affected by severe drought: report

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Water availability per capita dropped significantly between 1951 and 2022. (Representational)

Islamabad:

Pakistan is one of the 23 countries most affected by a severe drought crisis, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Ministry of Climate Change.

Due to World Desertification and Drought Day, the ministry warned that by 2025 droughts are expected to affect almost three-quarters of the world’s population, local media reported.

Desertification caused by human and environmental factors has scarred Pakistan, leading to environmental degradation, loss of soil fertility, loss of biodiversity and reduction in land productivity, exacerbating the vulnerability of fragile local communities in the country, Dawn reported in a statement.

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The statement read: “Droughts have always been part of nature and human experience, however, massive deforestation and human activities have accelerated the fallout. In Pakistan, people are suffering from water stress and rivers are drying up. throughout the country due to prolonged heat waves, late rains and poor water distribution.

With per capita water availability falling from 5,060 cubic meters per year in 1951 to just 908 cubic meters in 2022, the condition of this predominantly arid country has worsened. Livestock are badly affected by the increasing heat and lack of water in the already water-stressed regions of Sindh and South Punjab.

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The Indus delta has shrunk by 92%. The Living Indus initiative of the United Nations and the Ministry of Climate Change serves to restore the health of the Indus basin.

Coming to the aid of the crisis, Pakistan has planted 1.5 billion plants and created 250,000 environmental jobs in rural areas which are still bearing the full brunt of droughts and desertification.

Pakistan has set up an ecosystem restoration project under the theme of “nature-based solutions” to address critical environmental concerns such as desertification, loss of fertility and droughts, the ministry statement added.

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“We need to get moving, work to improve drought preparedness and build drought resilience. Pakistan is one of the countries on the front lines of the climate emergency. We cannot stop droughts from happening. produce, but we can prepare for it by conserving our water. The country is striving to achieve the voluntary land degradation neutrality targets by 2030 and the above efforts will pave the way to achieving these targets” , he added, as reported by Dawn.

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