The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday once again called for the international community to step up in helping Pakistan overcome the challenges posed by the devastating floods and extend support in rebuilding a climate-resilient infrastructure.
He made the remarks in Sukkur today where he was given a detailed briefing by Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah about the devastation caused by floods in the province.
The UN Secretary-General said the countries vulnerable to climate change, including Pakistan, must be supported to rebuild resilient communities and infrastructure to resist future disasters. He also stressed a reduction in emissions.
Expressing solidarity with Pakistan, the UNSG said the United Nations will do everything possible to raise awareness about the flood situation in Pakistan and request those who have the capacity to support the country in these difficult times.
Taking an aerial view of the flood-affected areas along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the secretary general termed the flood devastation ‘unimaginable’.
PM Shehbaz and UNSG arrived in Sukkur earlier to review the rescue and relief operations underway in the flood-hit district and to assess the damages caused by the catastrophe.
Members of the federal cabinet and the UN delegation are also accompanying the two leaders during their visit.
Later, PM Shehbaz, while talking to Guterres during their visit to the flood-affected Tehsil Usta Muhammad in the Jaffarabad district of Balochistan, urged the international community to support the country in containing the challenges that arose following the climate catastrophe.
He said that the relevant authorities faced huge difficulties in reaching the affected people in the remote areas of the province. The premier further informed the UNSG that floods had badly affected the road and railway infrastructure while also damaging bridges.
Moreover, he said that the rehabilitation of the flood affectees is a major challenge and the federal government is providing all sorts of assistance to the provinces in the restoration process.
Speaking about Balochistan’s various natural resources, PM Shehbaz added the government had plans to develop the province as well.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo informed the UN secretary-general that they had utilized all of the province’s limited resources in the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts. He appealed to the global community to extend financial help to support the flood affectees of the country.
The chief secretary of Balochistan also briefed the dignitaries about the devastation caused by the monsoon floods, and rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the province.
Later, PM Shehbaz and the UNSG interacted with the flood affectees in tent city Usta Muhammad, Jafferabad.
They also visited the schools set up for the children of flood victims in the region.
Earlier, upon arrival, acting governor balochistan and Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo received the prime minister and the UN secretary-general.
Guterres pitches for massive flood aid
Guterres on Friday revealed that the ongoing flooding had cost Pakistan $30 billion, as he visited Pakistan to mobilise help for millions of people affected by devastating monsoon floods.
Nearly 1,400 people have died in flooding that covers a third of the country — an area the size of the United Kingdom — wiping out crops and destroying homes, businesses, roads and bridges.
Guterres said he hoped his visit would galvanise international help, noting Pakistan had always shown generosity towards others, hosting millions of refugees for decades from neighbouring Afghanistan at enormous cost.
The UN secretary general called the lack of global attention to climate change “insanity”.
“This is insanity, this is collective suicide,” Guterres told a news conference in the federal capital, lamenting the lack of attention the world gave to climate change — particularly the industrialised nations that scientists blame.
He was speaking with the prime minister at the National Flood Response and Coordination Center where the UN chief was given a comprehensive briefing about the damages and rescue and relief efforts.
Pakistan is responsible for less than one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but is eighth on a list compiled by the NGO Germanwatch of countries most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change.