Rising Temperature Provokes Water and Food Insecurity in Pakistan and India

The direct result of climate change by rising temperatures in Pakistan and India is water, food and biodiversity insecurity which may become worst in upcoming years, told environmentalists of the region. An exceptionally high heat wave is hitting two nuclear-armed neighboring countries with temperatures reaching 51 degree Celsius in Pakistan and 49 degree Celsius in India.

It has been predicted by the environmentalists that this heat wave will keep up the heat through the coming days and it has been warned that this rising temperature will melt up the glaciers, which would ultimately result in damaging crops  and pastures while further shrinking wetlands. “Already melting glaciers are the primary target of climate change, mainly the rising temperatures, which will lead to acute water shortages and subsequently, hit agriculture and biodiversity in the region,” and environmentalist based in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, Ashiq Ahmad Khan, told Anadolu Agency. He further told that the large number of people living in mountains mostly rely on livestock as their living and earning source and climate induced destruction of pastures is already taking a toll on them.

The head of India’s private weather agency ‘Skymet’, Mahesh Palawat also told Anadolu Agency that this unusual temperatures in the country are the result of climate change. He said that pre-monsoon activities are expected to start soon due to western disturbances which has been a sign of relief. Palawat told that India’s northwestern region has been hit hard with heat wave and it has caused power outages in many areas and shortage of water in many parts. He told that in New Delhi the lakes have almost dried up which has cause water crisis leading to the complaints of water shortage.

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Sardar Sarfraz, the chief meteorologist of the Meteorological Department of Pakistan said that the ongoing heat wave was ‘unusual’ because it arrived two weeks earlier before the expected arrival because of climate change, in the larger picture. Speaking to Anadolu Agency he reported that March and April have seen historically high temperatures with respectively 62 percent and 72 percent less rainfall than usual. Pakistan and India are among the top 10 list of countries which have been hit hard by climate change. In the past 10 years the severity of sea storms and cyclones has also increased in both countries. He further told that the monsoon season shifting which is directly affecting the agricultural output of South Asian countries. India had to put a ban on wheat exports due to risk to food security and soaring prices although it’s the world’s second largest wheat producer in the world.

Pakistan despite having world’s largest irrigation system and being an exporter of wheat, lentils and other staples is having its land shrunk due to massive floods as well as droughts and country is facing housing crunch too. In the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, which are considered main bread baskets of the country, many green lads have turned into jungles in many districts as well as larger cities due to increasing population and housing needs. In 2010, due to floods more than 2 million people migrate to cities from rural areas and 60 percent did not return to earn a living at cities according to ministry of climate.

A State of the Climate report from UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) that both countries would be expecting mire heat waves which would exceed record temperatures seen in 2010 once every three years and without climate change such temperatures are recorded every 312 years. Under such circumstances food security must be the top priority for both countries. Khan, the Peshawar-based forester, said that, “It means we should reduce and manage the consumption of food to cope with food security in the near future or equip ourselves to handle the diseases caused by intense heat and other climate change effects,” he maintained.