With Cyclone Biparjoy expected to officially make landfall near the India-Pakistan border this evening, local time, 170,000 people have already been evacuated. The leading edge of the powerful storm, packing strong winds and storm surge as high as 13 feet, has already claimed seven lives and threatens to inundate a region “barely recovered from the last climate-induced disaster,” as Pakistani minister for climate change Sherry Rehman told Bloomberg.
The country, which is responsible for a negligible amount of historic climate pollution, is in the midst of substantial economic turmoil set off by the flooding that submerged one-third of the country last year, directly killing at least 1,700 people and setting off a waterborne disease crisis and increase in child marriage. Its economy grew just 0.29% from June 2022-June 2023 and it is scrambling to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund to stave off default on the $22 billion of external debt payments it owes next year. More climate-fueled extreme weather is predicted for Pakistan in the coming months. (Cyclone Biparjoy: Bloomberg $, AP, The Independent, New York Times $, BBC, CNN, Washington Post $, Reuters; Pakistan forecast: Bloomberg $)