Saturday May 18, 2024

International community obligated to massively support flood-hit Pakistan: UN secretary general

Antonio Guterres calls on developed countries to drastically reduce emissions and help Pakistan rebuild after catastrophy

By Web Desk
September 09, 2022
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on September 9, 2022. — Screengrab from APP
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on September 9, 2022. — Screengrab from APP

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, during his visit on Friday to flood-hit Pakistan, said that the international community is obligated to massively support the country in meeting the challenges posed by the catastrophy, Radio Pakistan reported.

His remarks came during a visit to the National Flood Response and Coordination Center in Islamabad, to which he was accompanied by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Guterres was provided a detailed briefing on the extent of floods and relief operations in the affected areas, the publication said.

The UN secretary general acknowledged that Pakistan has little contribution to global emissions but it is one of the most vulnerable hotspots to climate change, the national broadcaster reported.

According to Radio Pakistan, Guterres called on developed countries to drastically reduce emissions and support countries, such as Pakistan, that need to invest in rebuilding.

He said he holds Pakistan in his heart for the way it is generously hosting Afghan refugees.

The UN secretary general said he will do his best to raise awareness about the situation Pakistan is in and to " mobilise the full UN system" in support of the country, the publication reported.

In his remarks, PM Shehbaz thanked Guterres for his empathy and support for the people of Pakistan.

According to Radio Pakistan: "The prime minister said the federal and provincial governments and all stakeholders including the armed forces are working together to provide relief and rescue to 33 million affected people."

It quoted PM Shehbaz as saying the government's rescue and relief efforts are in full swing and that affectees have been moved to safe areas. The premier also said that food and shelter is being provided but the challenges are significant.

The premier thanked all the countries who have stepped forward with donations in this crucial time.

PM Shehbaz said Pakistan's floods are a glaring manifestation of climate change and it is high time to take notice of the situation.

He stressed on the need for international support as Pakistan begins its reconstruction and rehabilitation phase. He said that the country is so far doing the best it can with meagre resources at hand and has the iron resolve to overcome all obstacles.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that an assessment of the damages caused by the devastating floods will soon be complete. He said the floods have hit the economy hard, affecting its growth.

Iqbal said "we are also working simultaneously to prepare a plan to build a resilient infrastructure", the national broadcaster reported.

Coordinator National Flood Response and Coordination Center Major General Zafar Iqbal gave a detailed briefing to the UN secretary general about the flood situation and the ongoing rescue and relief efforts.

The UN secretary general, who has also launched a global appeal to raise $160 million as flood assistance for Pakistan, arrived in Islamabad early this morning to highlight the catastrophe at the international level.

Guterres in a tweet said: "I have arrived in Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here."

"I appeal for massive support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe," he wrote.

Earlier, the prime minister welcomed the UN secretary general as he arrived at the PM House along with his delegation.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and senior officials were present.

The secretary general is also scheduled to visit the flood-affected areas.