UN, Pakistan launch worldwide flash appeal to help flood-hit people

Plan launched simultaneously in Islamabad, Geneva: Bilawal says Pakistan needs world’s support to rebuild infrastructure in devastated areas

By: News Desk
Published: 03:04 PM, 30 Aug, 2022
UN, Pakistan launch worldwide flash appeal to help flood-hit people
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The United Nations (UN) and Pakistan on Tuesday launched a worldwide flash appeal to help the people affected by the catastrophic flood situation in the country, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “This year’s rains are quite unusual, and the damage caused by climate change has broken all records.”

He added, “As many as 30 million people are faced with floods in 72 districts. Pakistan needs urgent help from the international community.”

He stated, “The floods caused irreparable damage to precious lives and agriculture. It has become difficult to deliver food and drink to the flood-hit people.”

He averred, “Rain and floods caused irreparable damage to the economy. Cloudburst and rains caused flooding. The flood-hit people are being helped under the Benazir Income Support Programme.”

In a video message on the occasion, the UN Secretary General António Guterres said the world body has issued flash appeal for 160 million dollars to support the response led by Pakistani government.

He called upon the international community to work together to respond quickly to this colossal crisis.

Pakistan and the United Nations on Tuesday jointly launched “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” simultaneously in Islamabad and Geneva, urging the international community to support the government of Pakistan in scaling up and expanding its relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the areas, recently lashed by record torrential rains and battered by historic monsoon deluge.

Addressing at the launching ceremony, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan needed the international community’s prompt and immediate support in stepping up and expanding its efforts to rebuild and reconstruct the devastated areas and other infrastructure.

He stressed that the international community must share the responsibility of supporting those countries that had been facing the threats of global warming and climate change.

These international efforts would complement the government of Pakistan’s efforts he said and urged the global community to fully back the flash appeal by contributing generously.

The foreign minister while explaining the magnitude of the disaster caused by floods said the damages during the recent calamity exceeded the damages caused during the 2010 floods.

He said Pakistan had been a ground zero for the century’s existential climate change and global warming threats as about 72 districts and 33 million population had been badly affected while more than 1,000 lives were lost, hundreds of others were injured, besides millions of houses damaged, livestock and crops were wiped out.

Pakistan had been facing the direct consequences of global warming and in the frontline of such devastation wrought by the climatic changes, he added.

He said the disaster was colossal and the flood-hit areas were lacking critical basics.

The current cycle of super flooding, the foreign minister said, they saw was a part of extreme weather patterns. Unprecedented levels of cloud bursts and torrential rains had triggered widespread devastation, urban flooding, river floods and landslides, resulting in the loss of human life, livelihoods and livestock.

Terming year’s super floods as a climate calamity-induced destruction, he said “what we are facing today has been no above average monsoon. It is an entirely new level of climate-led catastrophe.”

The foreign minister said the rainfall in Pakistan since mid-June had been equivalent to three times the 30-year national average and the southern, central and northern regions of the country were worst affected.

Bilawal said millions were displaced who had been now spending days and nights, in camps, in the open skies, adding they were in dire need of clean drinking water, food and shelters.

The roads infrastructure had been damaged impeding their efforts to relocate and provide support to the flood-trapped people, he said, adding it was a national emergency and life-defining moment.

The foreign minister said Pakistan required financial assistance besides, urgently needed shelters, food, non-food, and other basic items.

Recounting his personal experiences, the foreign minister said that he had seen pains and agonies in the eyes of affected people who had lost everything they once owned, and were uncertain about their future.

In addition to the human miseries, the natural catastrophe had also impacted the country’s limited economic resources, he added.

He also highlighted the government’s relief measures including cash payments to each affected family and the compensation amount for the loss of lives and damaged homes.

Foreign Minister Bilawal further said that the government had also established PM Relief Fund 2022 to receive donations.

He said the government was cognizant of its responsibility and had allocated $173 million to help flood-hit people through direct cash transfers which would be disbursed through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to 1.5 million families who will each receive Rs25,000 ($115) in immediate cash relief.

Separately, Rs5 billion ($23 million) had been allocated to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for relief activities, he added.

“The government is also providing Rs1 million compensation to the next of kin of each deceased; Rs250,000 for injuries and partially damaged houses; and Rs500,000 for destroyed houses,” he added.

He also thanked the countries, UN, development partners and others for extending support to Pakistan and expressed the optimism that other countries would fully back such relief efforts.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a video message for the launch of the appeal in Islamabad and Geneva, said the UN issued a flash appeal for $160 million to help Pakistan cope with catastrophic floods.

He said Pakistan was awash in suffering. “The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids — the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding.”

Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan, also highlighted the scale of destruction caused by natural calamity and the country’s requirements to cope with the situation.

Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt. Gen. Akhtar Nawaz also briefed the session about the floods response plan and the situation in the aftermath of floods.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Islamabad, and the Assistant Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) also spoke on the occasion.

Minister for Planning, Chairman Relief Coordination Committee Ahsan Iqbal briefed the session about the relief and rehabilitation efforts and the continuing situation.

The launching event is being attended by all UN Member States as well as various UN agencies and humanitarian organizations working in the area of disaster relief. The FRP would complement the government’s overall humanitarian response to the recent floods caused by unprecedented rains in Pakistan.