photo: DVIDSHUB/Creative Commons
Back when 20% of Pakistan was underwater, I wrote about the influence of deforestation on the flooding--deforestation caused in no small part by illegal logging at the hands of the so-called timber mafia, a group with direct ties to the Taliban. Now, the New York Times has some follow up on that issue which is really worth reading. It asserts that terrorism remains Pakistan's number one problem, but environmental degradation is a close second. Check out this telling stat: When Pakistan gained its independence from Great Britain in 1947, 33% of the nation was covered in forest. Now that's just 4%.
Some of that is no doubt because lack of power infrastructure and poverty means that many people have no choice but to chop wood for heat and cooking fuel.
But most attribute deforestation to Pakistan's famous "timber mafia," a shadowy network of politically connected individuals and firms that chop down trees and will and cart them away under cover of darkness, with bribes to local and national officials guaranteeing that forest managers look the other way.
As for the causes of this summer's flooding, water and environmental engineer Tariq Yousafzai says one third was probably caused by climate change, with the rest attributed to the intersection of deforestation, poor infrastructure development, and engineering problems."
As for how much it'll cost to just get the infrastructure into proper shape, we're talking about $200 million, to start.
Which is just the start of this complex story. Read more: New York Times: Climate Change, Deforestation and Corruption Combine to Drown A Region
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More on Pakistan Flooding:
Illegal Logging by Pakistan's Timber Mafia Increased Flooding Devastation
At Least 20% of Pakistan Underwater (Video)
If We Can Attribute Natural Disasters to Climate Change, Who Could Victims Sue For Damages?