Pakistan is vulnerable to a number of adverse natural events and has experienced a wide range of disasters over the past 40 years, including floods, earthquakes, droughts, cyclones and tsunamis. These hazards are further exacerbated by growing urbanization, increased vulnerability and shifting climatic patterns, that can result in the occurrence of increasingly severe natural disasters. Over the past decade, damages and losses resulting from natural disasters in Pakistan have exceeded US$ 18 billion. As the population and asset base of Pakistan increases, so does its economic exposure to natural disasters.
Though Pakistan has made some positive strides towards improved development, the country remains categorised as a fragile state where there is weak capacity to carry out basic governance functions (OECD 2014). Conflict, economic instability, rapid population growth and the number of disasters over the past 10 years have contributed to development constraints. Pakistan received 2% of total overseas development aid distributed by multi-lateral and bi-lateral donors to fragile states in 2011 and has been described as a “forgotten crisis.” (OECD 2014: 24-26).
Pakistan is a geographically and climatologically diverse country. The landscape ranges between the frigid Karakoram Range (including the world’s second tallest peak, K 2) to the coastal desert along the Arabian Sea. Most of the geographical area is categorised as arid or semi-arid and the country also lies along the meeting point of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. These specific geographical features make Pakistan vulnerable to natural disaster risks from a range of hazards including avalanches, cyclones/storms, droughts, earthquakes, epidemics, floods, glacial lake outbursts, landslides, pest attacks, river erosion and tsunami. High priority hazards in terms of their frequency and scale of impact are: earthquakes, droughts, flooding, wind storms and landslides.
On average, in Pakistan between 1980 and 2010, 1.87 million people per annum were affected by disasters , resulting in economic damage of USD593 million each year. Pakistan has experienced several major disasters in the last nine years including the earthquake of October 2005 which killed over 73,000 people and the floods of 2010 and 2011 which affected over 18 million and 9 million people respectively.
Pakistan inherited the colonial system of disaster risk management (DRM) which was primarily predicated on responding to disasters when they occurred, with a component of preparedness, especially for the recurring climatic events.
Past disaster events
- EM-DAT listing of disaster events in Pakistan
- Disaster statistics from UN-ISDR and CRED
- Risk country profile from Index for Risk Management
- Damage and losses statistics from Disaster Information Management Systems
- Disaster response and management data from ReliefWeb
- HFA Progress Reports, government plans, and government statements and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper – http://www.unisdr.org/partners/countries/pak
Red Cross + civil society
- IFRC appeals and info bulletins for Pakistan
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