KARACHI, Pakistan — On Aug. 24, I received a frantic call from my mother. She told me that Sabu Buriro, our village on the shore of Lake Hamal in northwest Sindh Province, was underwater after weeks of heavy rains. Just two months earlier, extreme heat had dried the lake. Now, after weeks of monsoon rains, the lake was so full that the dike protecting us from it was about to burst.
After 10 hours of travel from Karachi, where I am a student, I arrived in a village full of panic-stricken relatives and neighbors. A few army trucks came to evacuate some of the women and children while the rest of us did what we could to salvage our dried grains, our livestock and our homes. After the army trucks left, no more government help appeared. I called comrades from the city, who came with vans; for three frantic days we did what we could to help before the dike broke and floodwaters consumed the village.
My immediate family is among the millions of Pakistanis displaced by this year’s disastrous floods, which were primarily caused by record monsoon rains, made worse by global warming. But the magnitude of this disaster was made larger by Pakistan’s exploitation of nature in the name of “progress.” My country needs to abandon its excessively industrial approach to water infrastructure, lest our ecological and economic situation becomes even more tenuous.