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.
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.