What’s it like to suffer from climate change in Pakistan? – Prism

Climate stories Pakistan traveled throughout the country to collect stories from people.

Pakistan is the most vulnerable country to climate change. How is life in such conditions? The Climate Stories Pakistan team traveled throughout the country to collect stories about people's climate suffering and resistance. These accounts show the human dimension of climate change and, hopefully, will inspire empathy and collective action in the face of growing catastrophes.

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"Fruits no longer taste the same"

Sheri Bano is the only organic farmer woman we met in Hunza. Originally from Altit, she uses only organic methods to grow vegetables, which are used in her own restaurant in Karimabad, Hunza.

"Our hotel [Hidden Paradise] she became famous for organic and traditional food, "she shared. She used to run the restaurant with her husband and when he passed away, her son took over the family business. The interesting thing about her restaurant is that she is 36 years old and is run entirely by his family.

“We did not have external staff, all family members would work there. When the children were younger, they did the job of the waiters, and my husband and I were in the kitchen. One of my children with different abilities would help wash the dishes and clean them, ”Sheri Bano shared. In addition, each vegetable is produced by them at home.

Some of the vegetables that he commonly grows now include carrots, cauliflower, peas, Chinese spinach and peppers. She plants new crops for each season. “In July we have Chinese cabbage, chives and potatoes. In August we can grow methi, mustard seeds, horseradish and carrots. ”

Sheri Bano uses animal waste as fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizers. She says that generally in colder regions, such as Hunza, there are no insects that attack vegetables. But if there is any, burn wood or use natural oils to kill them instead of buying pesticides in the markets.

However, recent changes in weather patterns are affecting their food production. The increase in temperatures has caused the rot of fruit and pest outbreaks. "Apricots get insects," Sheri Bano shared. “It happens due to sudden heat. And the same is happening with apples. They fall before their time. Fruits no longer taste the same and do not ripen in the same way. The taste they used to have doesn't exist anymore because of the weather. ”

She has noticed that weather patterns have changed dramatically in the last 4-5 years. “There used to be so much snow here that we slip. It was very icy. Now the weather has changed, it has been very hot. "Not only has the temperature increased, but it has also become unpredictable as Sheri Bano noted:" In the outdoor pool, this year after 30 years there has been ice. This year has been colder. "

Due to sudden changes in the weather, there have been unpredictable rainfall. “When it is ripening and it rains, the fruit is wasted. We are not getting the kind of production we got before. ”

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"Where are these mangroves?"

Born in Keti Bandar in the 1940s, Siddiq Roonjho still lives in the fishing village 70 years later, unlike others he has seen emigrating with the hope of a better life. "Here," he says, "there are no livelihoods or fresh water to drink."

However it was not always so. In the past, the four main streams in the area served as a source of fresh water, and agriculture flourished here: “We would grow so much rice that there used to be a smell around it. The rice is already finished since the water is no longer sweet. ”

Around 90{7be40b84a6a43fc4fae13304fce9a2695859798abfc41afd127b9f8b21c5f9c5} of the population here is engaged in fishing activities. Roonjho, a fisherman by profession, fondly recalls the time when streams abounded in fish. In their youth, fishermen did not go out to rough seas in June, July and August. Instead, they would have their nets in the creek: “We went every day and each fisherman would get 200-300 (pieces) of palla. "In recent years," when the [fresh] the water dried up, just like the palla. "

The flora of the area is also decreasing. Mangroves were once abundant, each of them a marker of a particular area due to its dense canopy: "We would differentiate each place with the type of vegetation that was there." Today, Roonjho asks: "Where are these mangroves now? They are not there."

This is due to two main reasons: seawater intrusion and deforestation. Deforestation took place on a large scale here, as mangroves were the only source of heat and light for these people: “There was no gas or anything at that time. We used to use wood as fuel. "The sea has also approached in recent years:" The sea was about 70 km away. Now, it's only 20-25km away, ”he says.

The state of the environment has great significance for Roonjho and those like him, since they depend on natural markers to forecast the weather, avoiding the newest technology: "Previously, we were going according to our own estimate. We would solve it according to how it I saw the sea. ”Now they cannot rely on these estimates since the weather has become unpredictable.

According to Roonjho, fishing practices have also changed a lot, which has reduced the population of marine species: “In the past, we used a silk thread to catch fish. Now, the nets are made of plastic. It is very dangerous since it catches everything, even the baby fish. ” The size of the holes in the network has also decreased in recent years, which has led to indiscriminate overfishing.

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"A person is mentally distressed after these floods"

Sonia Kanwal is from the beautiful Reshun Valley in Chitral. He was 22 when the flood hit his area in 2015. “They say that every 25-30 years, there is a flash flood like this. But in my life, it was the first time I witnessed a flood of this scale. "Speaking about climate change, he said," the real reason for its occurrence was the explosion of glaciers due to the increase in heat. We hear this from our elders. "

Sonia still remembers the sudden disaster and the intensity of the noise: "It was Ramazan and I was preparing for him isha prayer when the flood came. I heard the noise from afar and warned everyone that a flood was coming and that they should run for their lives. The flood brings large rocks with water from the large rocks in the mountains, which makes the noise very scary. The flood came upon us in a matter of seconds. A flood comes so fast.

Sonia recounts her thoughts at the time of the incident: “When the flood comes, you think that it has now arrived, I am gone. My life does not make sense. I'll be swept Just keep running and feel like the water is on you. This is how you feel.

The flood cost Sonia and her family most of what they had: “Our houses were completely razed. Our crops, our lands were destroyed. Any small land that remained was divided between my father and my brothers. Fortunately, no lives were lost since we all climbed the mountain for safety. ”

His family later rebuilt his house on the opposite side of the river, as did most others in the area. She talks about how the hardest part of starting life again was building a house in these harsh conditions. “There was a time when my father's cousin was plastering the walls and helping with the construction of our new house. But we couldn't find workers in the area to help bring the cement home. Then, I had to load the cement bricks myself. It was a very difficult time for me. "

With the physical and tangible burdens that remained after the disaster, there were also the mental struggles that Sonia faced. The post-traumatic stress of having faced such an incident left her reeling: "When I sat in the dastarkhwan, sometimes I heard voices of people shouting about the floods and screamed and ran to my room. Sometimes I also woke up in the middle of the night, screaming. A person is mentally distressed after these floods. ”


Are you working on climate change in Pakistan? Write to us at [email protected]

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Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1512123/whats-it-like-to-suffer-from-climate-change-in-pakistan

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