Save the planet and do justice!
PMA's Dr Nizami says Pakistan is not a victim of natural disasters but of climate change and global warming
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Additional Standing Committee Member of the World Medical Association and President of, Pakistan Medical Association Lahore Prof Dr Ashraf Nizami raise the demand in his address to the General Assembly of the World Medical Association in Berlin.
In his address, he said: “Pakistan is going through the worst climate disaster, which has affected at least thirty-three million people. This shows that Pakistan is facing a growing climate crisis and needs help to deal with this disaster. These floods and torrential rains are the result of climate change and we are suffering from this climate crisis.
“We are paying the price for a crime we never committed because Pakistan contributes only 0.8% of global carbon emissions. But it is among the top 5 countries worst affected by climate change and global warming.”
He continued: “Heart-wrenching stories of millions of people are emerging daily from the flood-affected areas. Children are hungry and sick. Women are giving birth under the open sky by the side of the roads. Unprecedented rains and floods caused massive damage to lives, property, infrastructure and livelihoods. 1700 people were killed and around 15000 injured while millions were displaced who are living under the open sky without tents and food. Most of the houses have been destroyed.
“Crops standing on 4 Million acres of land have been destroyed. 1 million farm animals have died. 290 bridges, thousands of kilometers of roads have been washed away. Hundreds of schools and hospitals have also been damaged or destroyed.”
He stressed that according to preliminary estimates, Pakistan's economy has suffered a loss of more than 30 billion dollars as a result of floods. As the situation worsens as time passes, millions of people are in urgent need of food, tents and medicine and therefore it calls for an extraordinary response from the international community.
Prof. Ashraf Nizami in his address expressed fear that more people may lose their lives if we fail to control the spread of water-borne diseases – malaria, dengue etc. and provide them with food and shelter. The outbreak has already started and the situation in Sindh and Balochistan provinces is critical. Millions of flood-affected people in Sindh have fallen ill, battling serious diseases like diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and malaria. Tens of thousands of children suffer from diarrhea.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared these floods as the highest emergency. The Director General of WHO has classified the floods in Pakistan as a Grade 3 emergency, the highest level. Damage to health infrastructure, shortage of doctors and limited health provision are affecting health services, putting children, pregnant women and nursing mothers at increased risk.
Prof. Ashraf Nizami added that our glaciers are melting fast, our forests are burning, and heat waves in the country have recently crossed the 50 degree Celsius mark, making Pakistan the hottest place on earth. Today, we are going through an unprecedented monsoon season. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has rightly called it a “monsoon on steroids”. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly said that Pakistan was seeking climate justice for climate-related disasters, not retribution.
The scale and severity of the flood damage in Pakistan is enormous and the support of the international community is essential to complement the recovery and reconstruction efforts. More than financial aid, Pakistan needs to rebuild its infrastructure and economy. Therefore, climate justice and green plan are needed. Climate justice is a concept that has recently emerged as a result of the rapidly escalating global climate crisis. This is based on the fact that although the industrialized countries have contributed greatly to this global crisis, they are not ready to share the rationality and burden of the crisis which severely affects the poor and developing nations.
At the end of his address, he demanded through the WMA forum that "we want climate justice".