NEW YORK: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday expressed his gratitude to the US President Joe Biden for highlighting the need for urgent action in the wake of massive floods in Pakistan.
“Thank you President Joe Biden for highlighting the plight of flood victims in Pakistan and urging the world for an immediate response, as my country is facing the ravages of unprecedented floods,” he posted on his Twitter handle. The prime minister stressed that the calls of stranded women and children for help need to be heeded to at the international level.
In another tweet, he said, on the second day of UN General Assembly, his discussions with top officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank focused on making resources available within the country’s existing programmes for post-flood reconstruction. “In my other meetings with world leaders, we discussed floods, climate change and rehabilitation of flood victims,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday acknowledged the ‘empathy and compassion’ of United Nations’ special envoy Angelina Jolie, who is currently on a visit to Pakistan in solidarity with the flood-affected people.
“Pakistan thanks Angelina Jolie, a special UN envoy, and other unsung heroes for becoming the voice of millions of people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by raging floodwater,” he said in a tweet. The prime minister said, “We will forever remember their empathy and compassion for suffering humanity.”
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie visited the flood-hit areas and urged the international community to do more as millions of people are in trouble in the flood-hit areas of Pakistan. Besides Jolie, renowned Islamic scholar Mufti Menk and Turkish actor Celal Al also visited the flood-affected areas of Pakistan and extended assistance to the families who suffered the devastation.
Meanwhile, Co-chairperson Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Bill Gates called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in New York on Thursday. The prime minister apprised him about the human cost of climate change, food insecurity triggered by floods and plight of flood-stricken women and children. During the meeting, they exchanged views on matters of mutual interest.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the government will provide subsidy to producers of Panadol and Paracetamol to make them affordable to people. The prime minister was chairing an online meeting of the authorities concerned to review the pace of various flood relief and rehabilitation activities in the flood-hit areas across Pakistan.
Expressing his views, the prime minister said that he held useful meetings with the President of World Bank (WB) and Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and comprehensively discussed the flood situation in Pakistan. They expressed their grief over the losses and assured to extend all-possible help and support to Pakistan, he added.
The prime minister said that he had cautioned that millions of vulnerable children were deprived of essential food items and could fall ill with diseases like diarrhoea. He said due to widespread devastation caused by the floods, the people in Pakistan could not face the challenge alone with their limited resources and urged the world community, international organisations like the WB and IMF and other friendly countries to support them and provide flood victims the much-needed relief.
The prime minister reviewed the distribution of food items, tents and medicines in the affected areas. He ordered the authorities concerned to make use of all available resources to distribute essential food items, especially baby food, in the affected areas on an emergency basis.
The prime minister also took stock of the restoration of roads, rail bridges and other infrastructure damaged in the devastating floods and ordered relevant federal and provincial departments to accelerate their efforts in order to make them operational as early as possible.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday held a meeting with the United Nations’ Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres and exchanged views on diverse matters. The meeting between the two leaders took place on the sidelines of the ongoing 77th session of the United Nations’ General Assembly.
The prime minister will make his debut on the world stage when he addresses the 77th session of UN General Assembly on Friday in which he is set to highlight the massive devastation left behind by the deadly climate-induced floods, and appeal for international help to deal with the catastrophe.
He is the 12th speaker in the 193-member Assembly’s high-level debate on its 4th day in which some 140 world leaders are participating. It is the first in-person session of the Assembly following the Covid-19 pandemic.
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