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CSDE Seminar Series

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Climate Change, Displacement and Health in Pakistan

Ayaz Qureshi, School of Social and Political Science, The University of Edinburgh

Register for Zoom link HERE.

12:30-1:30 PM PT

360 Parrington Hall


Population Health Initiative, South Asia Center

The devastation resulting from 2022 floods in Pakistan was yet another reminder of the human cost of Climate Change in the South Asian region. More than 32 million people were displaced, 1700 people were killed, 800,000 hectors of crops were destroyed, and over 750,000 livestock animals were lost. Vast areas of land remained under stagnant water for months, resulting in outbreaks of water-borne diseases. Many families took shelter on raised ground along highways in Southern and Western Pakistan. They were forced to spend nights under parked lorries to shelter themselves from rain. As horrific stories of human suffering in these circumstances emerged, a debate ensued in Pakistan on fixing the blame for the disaster. This debate ranged from global capitalist greed to unsuitability of colonial era infrastructures for indigenous water management systems. The Pakistani state rallied behind calls for Climate Change reparations at international forums but local understandings of climate change, and its impacts as well as how to deal with them, were ignored in governmental policy and response. In this talk, I will argue for a people-centred approach to understanding and addressing problems of health and displacement resulting from climate change related weather phenomenon.

Ayaz Qureshi is a social and medical anthropologist with interest in infectious disease, sexual and reproductive health, labour relations, NGOs, climate change, migration, and displacement. He has carried out a number of research projects in these areas. His monograph ‘AIDS in Pakistan: Bureaucracy, Public Goods and NGOs’ is the first full length study of HIV/AIDS work in relation to government and NGOs. He has published in discipline leading international academic journals. A full list of his publications can be found here: