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Experts raise alarm as death toll surpasses 100 after atypical storms: 'This is exactly what we've been warning about'

The flooding damaged roads and infrastructure.

The flooding damaged roads and infrastructure.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Unseasonably heavy rain pounded Afghanistan and Pakistan, causing flooding and resulting in more than 130 deaths across the two countries.

What happened?

In April, The New York Times reported that torrential rains — atypical for this time of year — battered Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

In Afghanistan, at least 70 people died from flash flooding and other weather-related causes, while in Pakistan, 62 people were reported dead. 

Many experts are blaming this above-average precipitation on the warming of our planet, according to the Times.

"This is exactly what we've been warning about,"  Muhammad Qasim, a professor of environmental science at Pakistan's University of Swat, told the publication. "Climate change is leading to more erratic weather patterns, with extreme events like heat waves, droughts, and unpredictable monsoons becoming increasingly common."

Why are the floods concerning?

In addition to the loss of lives, the flooding damaged roads and infrastructure. In Pakistan's ​​Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, 336 homes were destroyed. As Pakistan braced for even more wet weather, some also expressed concerns about how it would affect the country's wheat harvest.

While rain and flooding are naturally occurring events, scientists agree that the overheating of our planet is like "steroids" for our weather, as described by journalist and climate tech investor Molly Wood, making natural disasters more frequent and intense.

In 2023, we got a preview of climate-driven flooding around the world. For instance, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was slammed with 26 inches of rain in early April, which scientists called "a one-in-a-thousand-year flood."

In August, a state of catastrophe was declared in central Chile after severe weather caused serious flooding. More than 30,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes. Plus, a major rainstorm in October caused Italy's Lake Como to burst its banks, causing flooding in nearby Milan. 

What's being done about the floods?

Amjad Ali Khan, a Pakistani member of Parliament, told The New York Times that the provincial government is planning to prepare for future climate-related disasters by building retention dams that will manage water flow, control deforestation, and prevent soil erosion.

Across the world, innovative individuals are searching for ways to help us cope with flooding in the future. For example, some nonprofits in California have helped residents install rain gardens to protect their properties from soggy weather. 

Architects in Vancouver, Canada, are looking to design a more adaptable waterfront in the seaside city. Design elements include vertical extensions of flood-adaptive townhouses with community terraces and mid-rise buildings with public spaces that could flood without long-term damage.

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