Pakistan’s record-breaking floods have killed least 1,200 people and imperiled millions of others, according to authorities in the country, who shared on Tuesday that a famed archeological site is now threatened by the water.
Mohenjo-daro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the southern Sindh province near the Indus River, is one of the best preserved ancient urban settlements in South Asia. Discovered in 1922, it contains the ruins of the largest city of the Indus civilization, which disappeared under mysterious circumstances some 4,500 years ago. The overflowing Indus River has not yet flooded the site, however heavy rain-fall has damaged the walls of the city.
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“Several big walls, which were built nearly 5,000 years ago, have collapsed because of the monsoon rains,” Ahsan Abbasi, the site’s curator, told the Associated Press. He said that a team of construction workers under the supervision of archaeologists have started repairs. The landmark feature of Mohenjo-daro, the “Buddhist stupa”—a dramatic dome rising in the city center and associated with worship—is still intact, according to Abbasi.
The occupants of Mohenjo Daro, also known as “Mound of the Dead” in the Sindhi language, were skilled engineers who built and elaborate drainage system, which has saved the site from flooding in the past. The Sindh province has seen some of the worst flooding in Pakistan. Rising water levels in the Manchar freshwater lake in the southern province of Sindh threaten to burst its banks and flood the nearby city of Sehwan and the town of Bhan Saeedabad. Engineers are attempting to avert the disaster by cutting into the lakes embankment to release water in hopes of saving the imperiled villages, though hundreds of families have already evacuated their homes in anticipation of the flood.
Pakistan is arguably suffering some of the worst consequences of the climate crisis despite contributing less than 1 percent of global carbon emissions. The United States, in comparison, is responsible for around 13 percent of the global carbon emissions. Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said the country “has paid the price of others’ emissions.”
“Global warming is not generated by Pakistan at all. And global warming leads to heatwaves, flooding, glacial melt. Developed nations must make the transitions and follow through on the pledges they have made at COP, from Paris to now,” she said last week.