17-year-old Climate Activist Yusuf Baluch writes about the 2007 floods in Balochistan and what it teaches us about climate migration, adaptation and the future of our planet.
It was the middle of the night. They were sleeping in our homes in a tiny village near the river in the south of Balochistan. Suddenly, they heard a noise – a person shouting and calling out that the river was flooded.
“Let’s leave the village, let’s get to a safe place!” He had said.
Most of the people didn’t want to leave for the fear of abandoning their animals and homes. The animals and fields were their only source of their income, leaving was out of the question. Some of them tried to carry important items and leave the village as soon as possible but before they realised it, the whole village was submerged underwater.
The villagers managed to rescue themselves from the deep water but all the animals, possessions and homes had been destroyed. It was a cold night and the villagers didn’t even have blankets to warm them as they were forced to spend the night under the open sky on the cold ground. They were forced to get to safety by foot because there weren’t any vehicles around.
This was what my mother told me about the flood which hit and destroyed so many villages including hers in 1998 in Balochistan.
This time, I was only 6 years old. It was 2007, when after heavy rains, another flood hit our village at midnight. We didn’t know how bad the destruction would be, so we had to leave our homes in the middle of the night. Almost everyone left the village and went to nearby places to take refuge.
My family and I, along with some neighbours, went to another village by car. My parents were among the few people who managed to leave at the last minute. After almost two weeks when we got back, we found our home destroyed by the flood and we were the only ones who lost their home. Many people lost their crops and fields among other things.
This is only a story about my village.
There are hundreds of other places in Balochistan that get flooded almost every year and and every year people lose their lives, homes and livelihoods.
Extreme heat and droughts are the other main factors of the climate crisis in Balochistan. People are being displaced, animals are dying, rare species are threatened with extinction. This is what climate change looks like in Balochistan.
This is just a reminder that we should take immediate actions to mitigate the crisis and save millions of people who are being affected by it. This is going to be the story of every generation. This is just to remind you that we are being affected by the crisis from the last decades, and we can’t wait for another decade to suffer. This is not something to compromise with, this is the real climate emergency.