July 2010. Flooding in the district of Muzzafargarh ... A truck with private donations of water is engulfed by IDP's makeshift camp for persons displaced by the extensive flooding in Gujrat Town, district of Muzzafargarh. ...Those fleeing the flooding reported an estimated 200 houses washed away or destroyed by flooding. Most inhabitants of Gujrat earn a living through agriculture, farming rice, sugar and cotton. No deaths were reported by the villagers; however, they estimate that 90% of the herds of cattle and goats have been lost to flooding. ..Within the makeshift camp children are suffering with diarrhea and skin complaints. There is no shelter, no sanitation, no access to clean water and no electricity. Most of the IDPs sleep under the trees for shelter from the rain. They complain that they have received very little food and water, and only on one occasion had any access to medical supplies via a private donor... By Save the Children New Zealand Link
July 2010. "We want to warn everyone that the crisis facing Pakistan is enormous and still unfolding. There continues to be massive destruction as bloated rivers flow southwards across the plains. And this crisis will not be over when the flood waters recede – due to homelessness, hunger, and illness." UNHCR
Flood Facts•20 million people were affected by the floods, mostly by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure
• More people were severely impacted than the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake
• Over 2000 people died, and nearly 3000 were injured.
• WHO reports ten million people were forced to drink unsafe water
• 10.7 inches of rain fell in Peshawar during 24 hours
• Structural damages have been estimated to exceed $4 billion USD
• Wheat crop damages are estimated at over $500 million.
• At one point, nearly one fifth of the country was underwater.
Figure 1. Winds of the jet stream at an altitude of 300 millibars (roughly 30,000 feet high). Left: average July winds from the period 1968-1996 show that a two-branch jet stream typically occurs over Europe and Asia -- a northern "polar" jet stream and a more southerly "subtropical" jet stream. Right: the jet stream pattern in July 2010 was highly unusual, with a very strong polar jet looping far to the north of Russia, then diving southwards towards Pakistan. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.
Jet Stream Kink Locking Weather PatternsIn July over Europe and Asia, the jet stream has two branches: a strong southern "subtropical" jet that blows across southern Europe and a weaker "polar" jet that blows across northern Europe. The polar jet stream carries along the extratropical cyclones (lows) that bring the mid-latitudes most of their precipitation. The polar jet stream also acts as the boundary between cold, Arctic air, and warm tropical air. If the polar jet stream shifts to the north of its usual location, areas just to its south will be much hotter and drier than normal. In July 2010, a remarkably strong polar jet stream developed over northern Europe. This jet curved far to the north of Moscow, then plunged southwards towards Pakistan. This allowed hot air to surge northwards over most of European Russia and prevented rain-bearing low-pressure systems from traveling over the region. These rain-bearing low-pressure systems passed far to the north of European Russia, then dove unusually far to the south, into northern Pakistan. The heavy rains from these lows combined with Pakistan's usual summer monsoon rains to trigger Pakistan's most devastating floods in history. link (by Jeff Masters)
More Challenges to Come
On 11 August, a child drinks safe water from a bowl held by his mother, at a school in Charsarda District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. UNICEF is delivering safe drinking water to accessible areas in the province.© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1606/ZAK