PM Shehbaz, UN Secretary-General discuss flood situation in Pakistan

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Shehbaz UN Secretary General

Islamabad: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit, called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the devastating flood situations in Pakistan that have so far killed more than 1300 people, including 400 children.

PM Shehbaz highlighted that Pakistan was facing floods of epic proportions, which were a dreadful manifestation of climate-induced natural disasters.

PM Shehbaz outlined the extensive rescue and relief efforts being undertaken by the Government, in collaboration with UN agencies, the international community, and humanitarian organizations, to reach out to the deeply affected over 33 million people across the country.

The Prime Minister appreciated the strong support and advocacy rendered by the Secretary-General for mobilizing international assistance, including for the $160 million UN “Flash Appeal” to fund Pakistan’s Flood Response Plan.

Pakistan launches Flood Response Plan 2022 in collaboration with United Nations

He also lauded the Secretary-General’s forceful messaging highlighting the linkage of these floods with the impacts of climate change.

“Secretary-General’s leadership and timely intervention had helped put the global spotlight on the serious challenges posed by the catastrophic floods,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister recalled that with less than 1% of global carbon emissions, Pakistan was among those least responsible for global warming. Yet, it was among the top ten countries most severely impacted by climate change.

‘Today it’s Pakistan, tomorrow it could be any country’: Antonio Guterres

The premier stressed that, in the spirit of climate justice, Pakistan merited support from the international community, especially the industrialized countries, to respond to this climate calamity and to recover and rebuild with enhanced resilience.

The two leaders also discussed Pakistan’s plans for the phase of rehabilitation of the flood-affected population and reconstruction of areas devastated by floods. He also emphasized Pakistan’s resolve to build resilience against future climate shocks including through various projects on adaptation and mitigation with adequate support from the UN system and other international partners.

Recalling his long association with Pakistan, the Secretary-General conveyed his enormous appreciation for the people of Pakistan. He said he was witness to the resilience of the Pakistani people as well as their generosity in helping their compatriots and in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for decades. He added that he was also deeply moved by the devastation and the humanitarian consequences of the massive floods.

He assured full support and commitment to Pakistan including mobilizing international assistance. The Secretary-General emphasized that it was not merely about solidarity but a question of justice.

“Apart from the massive support required for rehabilitation and reconstruction, the whole issue of climate change needed to be addressed with the kind of urgency, seriousness, and responsibilities that it deserved,” Antonio Guterres said.

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