World must assist Pakistan to help it cope with flood challenge: UN chief

PM Shehbaz, Guteress visit flood-hit areas of Sindh and Balochistan: UN chief vows every possible help: Says country severely hit by climate change: Asks world polluters to stop war on nature as pollution contributing to global warming: PM urges international community to support Pakistan: UN head informed $1bn rehabilitation package being prepared for Balochistan alone

By: News Desk
Published: 10:01 AM, 10 Sep, 2022
World must assist Pakistan to help it cope with flood challenge: UN chief
Caption: Video grab.
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has once again urged the world community to take calamity-hit Pakistan seriously and extend massive support to it so that it could be able to mitigate the effects of large-scale destruction caused by the recent catastrophic floods and unprecedented rains, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reached Sukkur to review the damages caused by recent unprecedented floods. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also accompanying them.

The UN chief along with Premier Shehbaz and members of federal cabinet also visited flood-ravaged areas of Balochistan and reviewed the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts. 

The prime minister and the UN secretary-general took an aerial view of the flood-hit areas of Sindh. They also visited various flood relief camps in Larkana where they listened to the problems of flood affectees. 

The UN chief along with premier and FM Bilawal also held a meeting with lady health workers, nurses and officials of local administration appointed for the health/rehabilitation duties of the flood affectees. 

Guteress also visited Mohenjo Daro and got a briefing on the damage done to the archeological site by the recent torrential rain and floods.

Talking to flood affectees along with UN chief, the prime minister said that an amount of Rs70 billion allocated by the federal government was being disbursed among each flood-affected family under Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

He told the people that the UN secretary-general had come all along from New York to offer grief and sorrow over the loss of about 1300 lives and thousand others who had been injured in the recent flash floods.

He said that Sindh province suffered from huge losses, where crops were damaged and livestock swept away. The UN secretary general arrived here to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed gratitude to the prime minister and the UN secretary general for their support and solidarity.

He said it was a historic event as the UN secretary-general had arrived Larkana, adding that the federal, provincial and the international community would join hands to rebuild again with such structures that could resist the future calamities.

The United Nations secretary-general, on the behalf of the UN, expressed solidarity to all those who suffered due to the terrible floods in Pakistan.

Guterres said “Voice of the UN will be exactly the same of Pakistan.” He said that monsoon season had always been unpredictable.

The foreign dignitary observed that Pakistan had no resources to compensate for the loss of lives, crops and livestock. “Those who had created such situation must massively support Pakistan as Pakistan can’t do it alone. I am not asking for generosity, but for justice,” he added.

He said that his message to the world community would be to stop this war on nature as the nature would not forgive, stop pollution that was creating vital changes and contributing to the warming of the planet.

Narrating his background, he said that he belonged to a farmer’s family in Portugal, and that he could realize the sufferings, and pains over loss of houses, crops and cattle.

Praying for the alleviation of flood affectees’ sufferings, the UN secretary-general said that he hoped for a miracle to set the things rights.

Earlier, talking to the media in Sukkur, the UN chief said that he was dejected to see a huge loss of lives and a trail of destruction. “We are ready to help Pakistan in every possible manner,” Guteress said adding that Pakistan was severely hit by climate change. 

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 called for a reduction in emissions.

Expressing solidarity with Pakistan, the UN chief said the UN would 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.

“It is not a matter of generosity, but a matter of justice,” Guteress said reiterating the UN’s commitment, strong support and solidarity with the flood-affected populace of Pakistan.

The UN chief said that huge damages and losses were caused to human lives and properties.

“The UN absolutely supports the Pakistani nation and requests the well-resourced nations to support the country massively, so that it can face the future challenges of climatic changes and save its nation,” he added.

He stressed that the international community must realize the serious impacts of greenhouse emissions as nature was striking back in the form of natural calamities.

The issue of greenhouse gases had accelerated the climatic changes and the nations having larger greenhouse emissions footprints must understand these issues, he added.

According to the scientific estimates, the UN secretary-general emphasized that now, it was a time to reduce greenhouse emissions.

He said it was also a fact that they were living in a climatic changing era and have to make efforts to rebuild communities and to enable the countries to resist and face the future disasters that could be wrought by the natural calamities.

At Sukkur airport, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah received Prime Minister Shehbaz and the UN chief. He gave them a detailed briefing regarding the destruction wreaked by the floods. 

He said during the current monsoon season, different districts of the province had received unusual rainfall never witnessed in the past.

He said that 30 districts of the province were affected, displacing about 12 million, adding that a total of 578 people lost their lives. A total of 3 million houses were destroyed and crops grown on an area of about 3.3 million acres were damaged while 500,000 livestock had been swept away.

The chief minister said that Pakistan had been facing the impacts of global warming and climatic changes, adding that they required the international community’s financial support for the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

Later, PM Shehbaz and the UN chief flew to Balochistan where they met with flood-affected people in Tehsil Osta Muhammad, District Jaffarabad . 

The premier told Guteress that international community must support Pakistan to overcome the challenge of rehabilitation of the flood-affected people. 

He said that the relevant authorities faced huge difficulties to reach to the affected people in the remote areas of Balochistan province.

He informed that floods had badly affected the road and rail infrastructure, besides damaging bridges.

“The rehabilitation of the flood affectees is a major challenge and in order to deal with it, the federal government is assisting the provinces,” Shehbaz said.

He said that the province has its natural resources, and his government was focusing on the development of the province.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo informed the UN secretary general that they had utilized all the 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 briefed the dignitaries about the devastation caused by the monsoon floods, and rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the province.

Guteress was told that $1 billion package was being prepared for the rehabilitation of the province. 

UN Secretary-General Guterres and Prime Minister Shehbaz interacted with the flood affectees in tent city Usta Muhammad, Jafferabad. They also visited a school set up for the children of flood victims in the tent city.

Reporter Awais Kiyani