acquired August 4, 2022
Devastating Floods in Pakistan
- Landsat 8 - OLI
- Landsat 9 - OLI-2
- NOAA-20 - VIIRS
- Data Date: August 4, 2022 - August 28, 2022
- Visualization Date: August 30, 2022
Since mid-June 2022, Pakistan has been drenched by extreme monsoon rains that have led to the country’s worst flooding in a decade. According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have affected more than 33 million people and destroyed or damaged more than 1 million houses. At least 1,100 people were killed by floodwaters that inundated tens of thousands of square kilometers of the country.
The false-color images above were acquired by the Operational Land Imagers aboard the Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites on August 4 and 28, respectively. The images combine shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red light (bands 6-5-4) to better distinguish flood waters (deep blue) beyond their natural channels.
The worst flooding occurred along the Indus River in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh. The provinces of Balochistan and Sindh have so far this year received five to six times their 30-year average rainfall. Most of that arrived in summer monsoon rains.
Across the country, about 150 bridges and 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of roads have been destroyed, according to ReliefWeb. More than 700,000 livestock and 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been lost.
acquired August 31, 2022
The image above, acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on August 31, 2022, shows the extent of flooding in the region. The image uses a combination of near-infrared and visible light to make it easier to see where rivers are out of their banks and spread across floodplains.
The immense volume of rain- and meltwater inundated the dams, reservoirs, canals, and channels of the country’s large and highly developed irrigation system. On August 31, the Indus River System Authority authorized some releases from dams because the water flowing in threatened to exceed the capacity of several reservoirs.
acquired August 28, 2022
In the southern reaches of the Indus watershed, the deluge has turned plains into seas. These detailed images show the districts of Qambar and Shikarpur in Sindh province, which from July 1 to August 31 received 500 percent more rainfall than average.
acquired August 28, 2022
The effect of the monsoon rains has been compounded by the continued melting of Pakistan’s 7,000 glaciers. The country holds the most glacial ice found outside the polar regions. Climate warming and recent heat waves have precipitated several glacial-outburst floods. In the rugged northern part of the country, the combined rain and meltwater has turned slopes into hill torrents.
On August 30, the Pakistani government declared a national emergency and, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for international aid for humanitarian relief efforts.
Pakistan last faced such dramatic and widespread flooding in 2010.
- FloodList (2022, August 27) Pakistan—Almost 1,000 Dead, 33 Million Affected in Worst Floods in a Decade. Accessed August 31, 2022.
- NASA Earth Observatory (2011, April 6) Heavy Rains and Dry Lands Don’t Mix: Reflections on the 2010 Pakistan Flood.
- NASA Earth Observatory (2010, August 8) Flooding in Pakistan.
- Radio Pakistan (2022, August 31) IRSA releases 431,200 cusecs water. Accessed August 31, 2022.
- ReliefWeb (2022, August 30) Pakistan 2022 Floods Response Plan. Accessed August 31, 2022.
- Reuters (2022, August 30 ) UN appeals for $160 million to help Pakistan amid ‘epochal’ floods. Accessed August 31, 2022.
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/UNOCHA (2022, August 30) Pakistan: WFP working to expand food aid as deadly flooding continues. Accessed August 31, 2022.
- United Nations Satellite Centre/UNOSAT (2022, August 31) Satellite Detected Water Extents Between 01 and 29 August 2022 Over Pakistan. Accessed August 31, 2022.
- Yale Climate Connections (2022, August 30) Cruel echoes of a 2010 disaster in Pakistan’s catastrophic 2022 floods. Accessed August 31, 2022.