Extreme climate change impact in China and Pakistan: World in photos

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World In Photos: Climate change brings extreme flooding to Pakistan and drought to China at the same time

It’s hard sometimes to fathom how the planet can punish people in neighboring states, or countries, in such utterly different ways. Sometimes a drought can be followed soon after by flooding — across the same geography. Grid’s Dave Levitan and Lili Pike reported on the phenomenon this week: “In what may seem like a paradox, these very different weather extremes are being juiced by the changing climate. … Hotter and drier, and then very suddenly much wetter — a climate change double-whammy that will arrive more and more often, bringing potential calamity with it.”

These photos offer a global example of that “double-whammy” from a pair of Asian nations: colossal, deadly floods in Pakistan — and a dangerous absence of water in China.

First, snapshots from the epic drought: an aerial view of the mighty but precariously depleted Yangtze River; a patch of the Jialing River, which this week looked more like a desert with a few puddles here and there; water deliveries to residents in Hunan Province; and a much-needed spray of water for a Jiangsu Province garlic field. And perhaps most memorable: a bizarre (to us at least) effort at rainmaking in Guizhou Province.

Then, some 2,000 miles to the west, nothing but water. Far too much of it. Monsoon rains have brought floods to parts of Pakistan that have killed more than 900 people and driven more than 180,000 others from their homes. The government said this week that more than 4 million people have been affected by the floods, in one way or another.

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In the photos from Pakistan, tent villages for those uprooted by the high waters; a badly damaged mosque in Sindh Province; a flooded patch of the border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan; and in a remarkable feat of crisis-induced ingenuity, a man turns a satellite dish into a makeshift raft and uses it to bring children to safety.

May rain come to China — and dry weather to Pakistan — before long.

WUHAN, CHINA - AUGUST 25:(CHINA OUT) A man seen fishing in the dry Fu River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, seen on August 25, 2022 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since July the continuous high temperature has caused the most severe meteorological drought in the Yangtze River Basin since 1961. According to local weather forecasts there will be rain over the weekend, which may ease the drought. (Photo by Getty Images)
CHONGQING, CHINA - AUGUST 23: The Jialing River bed is exposed due to drought on August 23, 2022 in Chongqing, China. (Photo by Zhou Yi/China News Service via Getty Images)
WEINING, CHINA - AUGUST 24, 2022 - Citizens use rocket anti-aircraft guns to make artificial rain in Weining autonomous county, Guizhou Province, China, Aug 24, 2022. Artificial rain enhancement and hail suppression operation is a service organized and carried out by the meteorological department, through which the ecological environment can be improved, water resources in the air can be fully exploited, water shortage can be alleviated, rainfall can be increased, the capacity of reservoirs can be increased, drought conditions can be alleviated or relieved, and the level of forest fire risk can be reduced. (Photo credit should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
LIANYUNGANG, CHINA - AUGUST 26, 2022 - Villagers water garlic plants to fight drought in a field in Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu province, Aug 26, 2022. (Photo credit should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Aerial photo taken on Aug. 24, 2022 shows a section of the Yangtze River in Chaisang District of Jiujiang City, east China's Jiangxi Province.  Due to continuous high temperature and less rainfall, the water level of Yangtze River in some parts of Jiujiang City has fallen significantly.  Jiangxi Province on Wednesday raised its drought emergency response from Level IV to Level III starting from 10 a.m. as the drought continues. (Photo by Zhou Mi/Xinhua via Getty Images)
TANDO ALLAHAYAR, PAKISTAN - AUGUST 26:  Pakistani flood victims are seen at safer place following flash flood at Tando Allahayar town in southern Sindh province, Pakistan on August 26, 2022 Record monsoon rains were causing a "catastrophe on large scale" as Pakistan has called for international assistance and help in dealing with floods that have killed more than 900 people since June. (Photo by Shakeel Ahmed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TANDO ALLAHAYAR, PAKISTAN - AUGUST 26: Pakistani flood victims are seen at safer place following flash flood at Tando Allahayar town in southern Sindh province, Pakistan on August 26, 2022 Record monsoon rains were causing a "catastrophe on large scale" as Pakistan has called for international assistance and help in dealing with floods that have killed more than 900 people since June. (Photo by Shakeel Ahmed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Tom Nagorski
    Tom Nagorski

    Global Editor

    Tom Nagorski is the global editor at Grid, where he oversees our coverage of global security, U.S.-China relations, migration trends, global economics and U.S. foreign policy.

  • Jake Garcia
    Jake Garcia

    Associate Producer, Multimedia

    Jake Garcia is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer for Grid.

  • Mariana Labbate
    Mariana Labbate

    Global Editorial Assistant

    Mariana Labbate is the editorial assistant for Grid's Global team.