The lives of 14 million Pakistanis are disrupted by massive flooding. The US must prepare for more security crises triggered by erratic weather, perhaps caused by global warming.
The world cannot help but feel compassion for Pakistan, where 1 in 12 people, or more than 14 million in all, have had their lives disrupted by teeming rain and a flood the size of Lebanon. By these estimates alone, this humanitarian crisis eclipses last year’s Haitian earthquake and the 2004 Asian tsunami combined.
Aid relief to Pakistan’s flood victims has so far been slow and inadequate, despite the best efforts of the country’s military and the $55 million in aid promised by the United States (which includes helicopter deliveries). Now this wave of “climate migrants,” combined with their anger at Pakistan’s shaky civilian government and their embrace of aid from Islamic militants, has set up a classic case of how erratic weather can create a security crisis.
In a report earlier this year, the Pentagon warned that new weather patterns “may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.” Whether the cause is global warming or not, more weather-driven disruptions are occurring, such as drought-driven wildfires in Russia and a recent drought in Mexico that drove millions to flee to the US.