ISLAMABAD: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Pakistan needed “massive” financial support for relief, recovery, and rehabilitation in the wake of the catastrophic floods that displaced more than 33 million people and are estimated to have caused $30 billion of damage.
He made the remarks after attending a briefing at the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) alongside Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The UN chief is currently in Pakistan on a two-day trip to seek the world’s support for the catastrophic floods which have devastated the country and to highlight the urgency to deal with the climate change crisis.
Guterres began by saying that there was “no memory of anything similar to what has happened with the impact of climate change in Pakistan”.
“The numbers are appalling. But beyond the numbers, I see the families that have lost their loved ones, houses, crops, jobs and are living in desperate conditions,” he expressed.
The secretary-general pointed out that Pakistan had not contributed to climate change in a meaningful way. “But Pakistan is one of the most dramatically impacted countries.”
He highlighted that the emissions by the country were relatively low, yet Pakistan was on the frontline of climate change.
Guterres called on the international community to help the flood victims, saying: “Pakistan needs massive financial support to respond to this crisis as according to initial estimates the losses are around $30 billion.”
He stressed the need for debt support. It is not a matter of solidarity, but a matter of justice, he said.
“It is absolutely essential that this is recognised by the international community, especially by those countries that have contributed more to climate change.
“And effective solidarity and justice is shown by mobilising massive support,” the UN chief said.
And at the same time, the UN chief warned that the world was heading towards a disaster. “We have waged war on nature and nature is striking back in a devastating way. Today, it is Pakistan. Tomorrow, it can be your country. We need to stop increase in emissions and start reducing them now.”
The secretary-general added that this matter would be discussed at the next Conference of States Parties.