A series of satellite photographs conveys the epic scale of the floods sweeping through Pakistan, leaving millions homeless and the world aghast at an extreme weather disaster that experts consider the new normal.
Above at left is the central Pakistan city of Hyderabad on July 31. At right is the city on August 19, as floodwater swelled the Indus River. In coming days the water will reach the coast, joining tidal waters and inundating the floodplain. An estimated four million people are already homeless, and millions more at risk of disease. Agriculture is disrupted and a society thrown into disarray.
As University of Michigan atmospheric scientist Ricky Rood wrote on the Weather Underground blog, “What is happening in Pakistan cannot be described in a single word – like disaster or catastrophe. We are watching a combination of climate, weather, population, societal capacity, and geopolitics whose scope and ramifications are far beyond a “historic flood.”
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