Jacobabad, Pakistan, is on the frontline of the extreme weather whiplash made more likely as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Where temperatures soared above 122°F (50°C) in May, extremely heavy monsoon rains have set off flooding — exacerbated by water released from glaciers melting in the extreme heat — that has killed more than 1,100 people, including 380 children, so far this year.
“A manifestation of climate change is the more frequent and more intense occurrence of extreme weather events, and this is exactly what we have witnessed in Jacobabad as well as elsewhere globally during the past few months,” Athar Hussain, head of the Centre for Climate Research and Development at COMSATS University in Islamabad, told Reuters.
The widespread flooding has also raised alarms about the spread of waterborne disease, as well as other ailments like skin infections that can become far more serious if left untreated — an issue of particular concern as millions of people remain effectively stranded and cut off from medical care. (Whiplash: Reuters, HuffPost; Disease & Health Threats: AP, The Guardian, NPR, NBC; Death toll: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase, Extreme heat and heatwaves)