PM writes in op-ed Global attention for flood-hit Pak has receded but waters not

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Pakistan floods

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that international attention for flood-hit Pakistan is receding even though large parts of the country, particularly Sindh and Balochistan, remain inundated.

The premier’s remarks come ahead of the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan which will be held in Geneva on January 9. The event will be co-hosted by the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations.

The conference aims to bring together government representatives, leaders from the public and private sectors, and civil society to support the people and the government after the devastating floods of 2022.

In an op-ed published in The Guardian on Friday, PM Shehbaz said that last year’s catastrophic flooding claimed 1,700 lives and affected 33 million people.

“International attention has receded, but the waters have not. Large parts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces remain inundated. The number of food-insecure people in Pakistan has doubled to 14m; another nine million have been pushed into extreme poverty.

“These flooded areas now look like a huge series of permanent lakes, transforming forever the terrain and the lives of people living there. No amount of pumps can remove this water in less than a year; and by July 2023, the worry is that these areas may flood again.”

PM Shehbaz stated that Pakistan was suffering from “recurring climate extremes”, highlighting that the country also witnessed a heatwave in 2022.

“The fact that some of the same areas that received record temperatures were subsequently submerged underlines the sharp swings in weather patterns that are becoming a norm.”

The premier noted that Pakistanis had responded to the calamity with “exemplary resilience”, adding that the government mobilised $1.5 billion in emergency relief.

PM Shehbaz said that while Pakistan was grateful to the international community and friendly countries for their generosity in helping to avoid the worst, more than two million homes, 14,000km of roads, and 23,000 schools and clinics had been destroyed.

“A post-disaster needs assessment, carried out in collaboration with the World Bank and the EU, estimated that the damage caused by floods exceeded $30bn — a 10th of Pakistan’s entire gross domestic product.