NASA's satellite pictures showed massive 100 km-wide inland lakes (which were narrow bands of water in images taken a year earlier) with water gushing in from the swollen Indus river in Sindh province in southern Pakistan. The last time Pakistan faced such catastrophic flooding was in 2010.
The new images taken from NASA's MODIS satellite showed the massive impact of heavy rain and an overflowing Indus river, which has flooded the Sindh province in southern Pakistan.
Operational land imagers aboard NASA’s Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites took images of Pakistan on August 4 and August 28, the Earth Observatory of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported.
Before and after
The transformation evident in the photos taken this year and last year on the same date is shocking. The satellite images show that the river and its tributaries were earlier contained in what appear to be small, narrow bands; now they have become 100-km wide inland lakes, highlighting the extent of the damage in one of the country's hardest-hit areas.
The damage caused by torrential monsoon rains is clearly seen in the false-colour images acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite as well.
Worst flooding in a decade
Pakistan has been battered by extreme monsoon rain since mid-June 2022, leading to the country’s worst flooding in a decade.
In late July, the northern region of Pakistan received more than 16 inches of rain, causing the the Indus and Kabul rivers to overflow, displacing millions as the high waters flowed downstream for weeks. Thousands of villages have been destroyed.
As per Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have affected more than 33 million people and destroyed or damaged more than one million houses.
On August 31, the Indus River System Authority authorised the release from dams because the water flowing in threatened to exceed the capacity of several reservoirs. In the southern reaches of the Indus watershed, plains have turned into seas.
The floods caused by monsoon rains have been exacerbated by the continued melting of Pakistan’s glaciers. Climate change and the recent heat waves have caused several glacial-outburst floods. The rain and meltwater together have have turned slopes into hill torrents in the rugged northern part of the country.
The last time Pakistan faced such dramatic and widespread flooding was in 2010.