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From Karakorum to the Coast

- Climate change in Pakistan -

 

report | Deutschlandradio Kultur, Deutsche Welle | 2015

 

Those who do not believe in climate change should travel with us to Pakistan! Also Mr. Trump personally is invited. In no other country on earth are the effects of climate change as terribly diverse as in Pakistan.

Ali Ahmad Jan, Ghulam Khatri and Moeen Akhtar are not eco-idealists and certainly not dreamers. They are environmental activists because they are directly affected. Years ago, we got to know the always cheerful Ali Jan while climbing in Pakistan and learned much later that the burly Baltistani climbs so fast because his parents' house was in the highest mountains. Right under a giant glacier. Back then. Before the glaciers in Baltistan melted and flash floods destroyed entire villages. Moeen Akhtar's family lost all their possessions as well. Through the floodwaters of the Indus River. And Ghulam Khatri fights against rising sea levels threatening his beloved homeland.

listen to the full radio report

We have traveled across the country: at the very top of the Karakorum the glaciers are melting. Here the highest mountains in the world meet: Hindu Kush, Himalayas and - as mentioned before - the Karakorum. Flash floods that can tear away entire villages often happen. In the center of the country there are both unprecedented droughts as well as floods. Hundreds of thousands of domestic refugees then try to find safety. And along the coast line in the south of the country, the sea level is rising. The rice fields of the farmers are becoming saltish, cyclones are tearing the poor fishermen's dwellings with them.