Flood-hit Pakistan needs ‘massive’ financial support for relief and rehabilitation: UN chief
Shahbaz Sharif (R) and Antonio Guterres attend a press conference at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad on Friday. AFP
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Pakistan needed “massive” financial support for relief, recovery and rehabilitation following catastrophic floods that killed 1,391 people and displaced more of 33 million people and which would have caused 30 billion dollars of damage. damage.
António Guterres said the world owes impoverished Pakistan “massive” help to recover from devastating summer floods, as the country is less responsible than many other countries for climate change, which experts say has contributed at the flood.
Airplanes loaded with aid from the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other countries have started arriving, but Guterres said there is still a long way to go.
Nature, the UN chief in Islamabad said, has attacked Pakistan, which contributes less than 1% of global emissions, according to several experts. Nations that “are more responsible for climate change (…) should have faced this challenge”, said António Guterres, seated next to Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Shahbaz Sharif (2L) walks with Antonio Guterres (C) upon his arrival at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad. AFP
“We are heading towards a disaster,” added António Guterres. “We have waged war on nature and nature is coming back and fighting back in a devastating way. Today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries.”
The UN chief’s trip comes less than two weeks after Guterres appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to help those affected by monsoon rains and floods which Pakistan says caused at least $10 billion in damage.
“I call for overwhelming support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe,” António Guterres tweeted after landing in Pakistan earlier on Friday.
Antonio Guterres walks with Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar upon her arrival at Islamabad International Airport. Reuters
He said other countries that contribute to climate change are obligated to reduce emissions and help Pakistan. He assured Shahbaz that his voice was “fully at the service of the government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan” and that “the entire United Nations system is at the service of Pakistan”.
“Pakistan has not contributed significantly to climate change, the level of emissions in this country is relatively low,” said António Guterres. “But Pakistan is one of the countries most affected by climate change.”
US forces watch as local workers unload relief supplies, sent by the US government to the people of Pakistan, at Noor Khan Air Base. PA
On Friday, the first loaded plane arrived from the United States, which Washington says is part of an upcoming $30 million aid package. More US military planes are expected to arrive in the coming days as part of a humanitarian bridge set up by Washington to deliver much-needed aid across the country.
USAID announces an additional $120 million
USAID on Friday announced an additional $20 million in humanitarian assistance for Pakistan, further bolstering US pledges. Later, Guterres addressed his words to the international community, saying that according to some estimates, Pakistan needs about $30 billion to recover from the floods.
USAID Administrator Samantha Power with US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome addresses a press conference in Islamabad. Reuters
“Even today emissions are rising as people die in floods and famines. This is madness. This is collective suicide,” he said. “From Pakistan, I make a global call: stop the madness; end the war with nature; invest in renewable energy now.”
So far, UN agencies and several countries have sent nearly 60 planes loaded with aid, and authorities say the UAE has been one of the most generous contributors and has sent so far 26 flights carrying aid to flood victims.
Also on Friday, USAID Administrator Samantha Power met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Islamabad. She later told reporters that she traveled to flooded areas in Sindh province on Thursday and witnessed massive destruction caused by the floods.
The floods affected all of Pakistan, including heritage sites such as Mohenjo Daro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of the best-preserved ancient urban settlements in South Asia. The civilization that dates back 4,500 years, coinciding with those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The United Nations heritage agency announced on Thursday that it would send $350,000 to help recover cultural heritage sites damaged by the floods.
Speaking at a press conference with Bilawal, António Guterres stressed the importance of tackling climate change.
“This is happening now all around us and I urge governments to address this issue,” he said, adding that what he had done so far as UN chief was ” a drop in the ocean of the needs of the Pakistani people”.
He said a proposal for a donors’ conference for flood-hit Pakistan was under discussion.
Associated Press / NNI Press Service