Issue Brief on “Urban Flooding in Pakistan”

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Urban flooding in Pakistan has become a pressing issue; with rapid urbanization and inadequate infrastructure, cities across the country are increasingly becoming vulnerable to the devastating impacts of heavy rainfalls. The recent spell of extreme monsoon across Pakistan has severely impacted several areas across the country. The province of Punjab has so far borne the brunt of extreme weather events with its capital, Lahore, receiving up to 291 millimeters of precipitation within 10 hours, on 5th July 2023.[1] The downpour has led to deaths across cities in Pakistan, whilst leaving major streets and low-lying areas submerged in water.[2]

Urban flooding is an issue that has grown significantly in Pakistan in the past few years. Pakistan is still recovering from the devastating floods that hit the country in July 2022 and caused urban flooding in various cities.[3] In the aftermath of recent rains, multiple cities including Lahore turned into an urban swamp with daily life coming to a halt with loss of life, livelihood, and property, with instances of urban flooding on the rise. In recent years unprecedented rainfalls due to climate change have given rise to intense and uncertain weather patterns, which along with other challenges have exposed major metropoles and cities to the phenomenon of urban flooding. While this is primarily due to unnatural weather conditions, population increase and unplanned infrastructure in pursuit of expanding cities have also led to an increased risk of urban flooding.

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