Heatwaves disrupt our daily lives

Young boys collect drinking water under the flood water in Pakistan.

My name is Fatima Faraz. I am a 16-year-old climate activist from Peshawar, Pakistan.  

Pakistan is one of the countries that is severely affected by the climate crisis. Pakistan is facing extreme weather events like floods and heatwaves, one after the other. Due to the recent floods in Pakistan, an estimated 33 million people, including 16 million children, have been impacted. Just before the floods, Pakistan also experienced a heatwave this year, due to which we had to deal with abnormally high temperatures.  

For the last several years, countries in South Asia including Pakistan have been experiencing heatwaves and with each passing year, the intensity is increasing. This year, the heatwave in Pakistan occurred earlier and lasted longer. From March onwards, we experienced very high temperatures. In other words, we did not have spring this year. According to UNICEF's new report on heatwaves, in 2020 around 20.2 million children in Pakistan were exposed to high heatwave duration. This report estimates that in 2050 this figure will increase by more than threefold and 76.2 million children in Pakistan will be exposed to high heatwave duration.  

I live in Peshawar and my city is also prone to heatwaves. This year, the school summer vacations in Peshawar were prolonged due to the extreme temperatures and our education was impacted. Our daily life was disrupted. We had to schedule most of our activities after sunset as the summers were unbearably hot. Children were unable to go out and play during the day, which impacted them both mentally and physically. Some people around me also suffered from heat strokes as they didn't take the proper precautions to deal with the heatwave.  

Pakistan contributes very less to global carbon emissions and yet it is bearing the brunt of climate change. It's about time that the world comes together to collectively reduce the global carbon emissions. Urgent climate action is the need of the hour. We need to act now before it's too late.