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Fact check: the global warming grifters at the BBC, the Red Cross and elsewhere salivate as Pakistanis drown: what about 1841? Or all the other floods

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 29 October 2022

1,717 Pakistanis have now drowned in the big floods this year and naturally the misery and suffering of this event should be no cause to celebrate. But for grifters like the Doom Goblin Greta Thunberg, the BBC and the Red Cross (HERE) events out East have been a cue to whip up hysteria and demand action. And, of course, money. But the facts: do they matter any more?

A scientist might measure a flood in terms of waters released but as a shorthand the grifters talk in terms of people killed. And 1,717 sounds like a lot, clearly more than other floods in very recent history. But it is a false comparator since what it misses is the explosion in the population of the area known since partition as Pakistan.

The population today is 230 million. Back in 1950 it was just under 38 million. In 1900 the area now known as Pakistan was home to  23 million. Say what you like about the Evil Britishers but we were jolly good at collecting data. Back in 1841, remember that year again, it was sub 20 million. 

This matters in terms of flood deaths because if you pack more people into the same space which gets flooded you will get more deaths. Indeed, given that folks will have been inhabiting more marginal (i.e. flood plain) land as the best lands became overpopulated then, ceteris paribus, you would expect a rising propensity to drown in a given flood event.

But even ignoring the increasing move to inhabit flood plains, the population of Pakistan today is ten times what it was in 1900 so the same flood would, ceteris paribus, drown ten times as many Pakistanis.

We might also note the massive deforestation that has occurred since the evil Britishers were booted out. Today less than 5% of Pakistan is under tree, very low by world standards. Trees are vital in slowing flood progress as they suck in water running down the hills.

Now what of those floods which the Doom Goblin would say is down to man made global warming. Wikipedia which also – falsely – puts the events of 2022 down to climate change lists historic floods in Pakistan suggesting the first was in 1992, which chimes in with the global warming narrative

That, of course is not true. The Federal Floods Commission lists major flooding in Pakistan between independence and 2012 as happening in 1950, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2010, 2011 and 2012. In other words there were stacks of floods before global warming. But what of pre independence?

Sadly the Britishers do not give us exact data but for the province hardest hit this year – and in most flood years – Sindh we do have some data

In the 19th and 20th centuries pre independence, floods hit the province’s geographical territory at least 18 times.between 1880 and 1948. Data is not available years like 1882, 1887, 1903, 1914, 1917, 1921, 1930 and 1948 but we know the damage was massive and that there was a huge death toll. And all of this was also before global warming.

The big mother of all floods was in 1841 when the casualties from the disaster were not recorded, but it was known to have wreaked havoc on several hundred miles of the Indus Valley. Whole villages were wiped off the map, and an entire 500-man Sikh army was reportedly consumed near the city of Attock. I suggest that in both absolute and population adjusted terms 1841 knocks the spots off 2022.

But let’s not talk about population adjustments, let’s ignore deforestation, lets ignore folks having to live on flood plains, let’s not talk about why an area with heavy rainfall is – and always has been so vulnerable to flooding. That poses awkward questions for the grifters, for those whose economic model depends on you accepting that man made climate change is settled science and so any facts that challenge this can be ignored.



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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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