PM: Millions of flood-devastated Pakistanis looking for compassion

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Pakistan floods

PM in Geneva to co-host Climate Resilient Pakistan conference

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday arrived here along with a high-level delegation to co-chair an international conference on ‘Climate Resilient Pakistan’, along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, being held on January 9.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister of Climate Change Sherry Rehman and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marryium Aurangzeb accompanied the prime minister, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

In the conference, Pakistan will outline the framework vision for rehabilitation and reconstruction and emphasis upon the need for global support and long-term partnership to implement it.

In the inaugural high-level opening segment, the official document would be unveiled over reconstruction and rehabilitation of the flood-affected areas, and feature partner support announcements.

The prime minister and the UN secretary general will also hold a joint press stakeout.

Before leaving for Geneva to attend the International Conference on Resilient Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday announced his departure’s aim is to garner support towards rebuilding and rehabilitation of areas across Pakistan devastated by flooding last year.

The premier, taking to Twitter, said that he would utilise this opportunity to present the case of Pakistan’s flood-hit population before the world and underline the steps taken by his government for their relief and rehabilitation.

“We will place a comprehensive post-disaster framework plan for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction with resilience before development partners and friendly countries. Bridging the funding gap is key to restoring

critical infrastructure, rebuilding lives and livelihoods and reviving the economy,” PM Shehbaz wrote on the micro-blogging site.

The prime minister added that millions of Pakistanis affected by unprecedented devastation look for compassion and solidarity to build back better.

More than $16 billion is needed to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods that submerged a third of the country in 2022, and to better resist the impact of climate change, the United Nations said earlier this week.

In a bid to meet the towering needs, Pakistan premier and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are set to host an international conference in Geneva next week.

The one-day event will gather high-level representatives from dozens of countries, including several heads of state and government, who have yet to be named.

While not strictly a pledging conference, UN and Pakistani representatives said that it aimed to mobilise support as the country tries to rebuild after the massive floods that left more than 1,700 people dead and affected over 30 million others.

“The needs are around $16.3 billion,” Knut Ostby, the UN Development Programme’s representative in Pakistan, told reporters.

Speaking by video from Islamabad, Syed Haider Shah, who heads the UN division in Pakistan’s foreign ministry, said his country hoped to cover half that amount through its own “domestic resources”.

“For the rest, we are looking at the donor support,” he said.

“This is a pivotal moment for the global communities to stand with the people of Pakistan,” said Khalil Hashmi, the country’s UN envoy in Geneva, while stressing that the conference would be the beginning of a multiyear process”.

A previous appeal for $816 million to help the victims of Pakistan’s cataclysmic monsoon floods has so far resulted in less than half that amount.

Yet the situation remains dire months after the monsoon rains ended, with flood waters still not receded in some parts of southern Pakistan.