Pakistan’s hottest city looks forward to COP26 for climate breather

Islamabad, Oct 28 (EFE).- Residents of Pakistan’s hottest city, known for hotter temperatures than the human body can handle, are looking forward to some reprieve from the upcoming United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow.

Representatives from some 200 countries will huddle together from Oct.31 to Nov.12 to boost action against climate change disasters under the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For the people in Jacobabad, a city of around 200,000 souls in Sindh province, where temperatures have regularly exceeded 50°C over the past four summers, the climate crisis is not a distant threat but a daily reality, the Amnesty International said in a photo essay released Thursday.

The photo essay documents the lives of the citizens of Jacobabad and offers a stark illustration of the human rights impact of climate change.

It underscores the immediacy of the climate crisis for some of the poorest people on the planet.

“We appeal major powers to adopt policies that will help reduce soaring temperatures so our coming generations are able to live here,” Muzammil Hussain, 22, told EFE.

The political science student has little hope for any outcome from the COP26 conference in the Scottish city.

“We have seen such conferences before but no concrete measures have ever been implemented before to mitigate global warming,” Muzammil said.

He said the city residents live their lives entirely dependent on how to escape the scorching summer days.

“We avoid going out in a day time and you would hardly see people in the streets,” Muzammil said.

Rimmel Mohydin, Amnesty International South Asia Campaigner, said the Jacobabad people, there was no more time for hesitation, delaying tactics, and half-baked solutions.

“(Their) human rights are already under such an unprecedented threat,” Mohydin said in a statement.

The Amnesty statement said Jacobabad residents adapt through whatever means available, including “donkey-powered” fans and ice blocks to cool floors.

“To keep cool during the workday, agricultural workers frequently use hand pumps to take quick showers or jump into dirty wastewater that gathers in low-lying fields, exposing them to skin infections.

“Children go to bed in wet clothes. It is the only way they can sleep.”

Women in the city are particularly exposed to extreme heat, as they do not have the same access to cooling mechanisms as others.

“Social convention dictates that they cannot take quick water baths in public the way men can, nor jump into nearby bodies of water like children do,” the Amnesty statement said.

“They are often forced to sleep inside in stuffy homes because sleeping outdoors can expose them to gender-based and sexual violence.”

Rampant deforestation, energy shortages, a lack of access to water, and adequate housing have exacerbated Jacobabad’s ability to cope with the extreme weather.

Most schools do not have electricity and remain largely inaccessible due to a lack of public transport.

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