Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged Western countries at the COP27 summit to provide reparations to poorer, more vulnerable countries like his, which bore the brunt of climate change. Millions of people are still homeless months after Pakistan experienced devastating floods, and thousands of schools and hospitals are in disrepair. According to the Pakistani government, the cost of reconstruction has surpassed $30 billion. More than 1,700 individuals perished in the floods, and two million dwellings were either damaged or completely destroyed, making the human cost far higher. Those who made it through are now mired in hopelessness and uncertainty.

Hanifa is one of the millions of homeless individuals who lost her son. “My son saved us by losing his life,” she says of the family’s breadwinner and father of six, Abdul Wahab. Hanifa claims that Abdul left their house after they evacuated to get something but never returned. Najma, another survivor, dreams of becoming a doctor, but she worries that day may never come because her school was submerged. She says, “I am worried my education has been wasted. I want to continue my studies and complete my secondary education.” Meanwhile, Abdul Qayoom’s home for a hundred years has been left in ruins. His home in the Hana Urak region of Balochistan, an area of Pakistan that is dry and arid and typically more susceptible to drought than rain, was wrecked by flash floods at the end of August. Abdul explains a local proverb. “Here we say that you either own a house or a grave,” he tells a news broadcast.