United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday sought “massive investments” for Pakistan to help it recover from damage caused by devastating floods that ravaged the country last year.
Guterres made this appeal in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz in Geneva, as the south Asian country continues to reel from the impact of disastrous floods that submerged more than one-third of the country.
“The epic floods were nothing short of a monsoon on steroids – as I mentioned in my visit – submerging one-third of the country, three times the area of my own country, Portugal,” the UN chief said at the International Conference on a Climate Resilient Pakistan.
“A terrifying wall of water killed more than 1,700 people, injured thousands more, and affected a total of more than 33 million, displacing 8 million people. It swept over roads, ruined millions of acres of agricultural land, and damaged or destroyed 2 million homes. And it pushed back 9 million people to the brink of poverty,” he added.
The International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, co-hosted by the UN brought together Governments, leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society to secure international support for Pakistan after the devastating floods of 2022.
In August last year, the “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” was jointly launched in the backdrop of devastating rains, floods and landslides that have impacted more than 33 million people in different parts of Pakistan.
It highlighted the main humanitarian needs, the efforts and steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to handle these challenges in collaboration with the UN and other partners, and sets out a well-coordinated and inclusive plan of action to respond to the needs of the affected people.
In his address, Guterres informed the international community that a humanitarian response plan of USD 816 million was launched last year. However, all of that was “just a trickle of support in the face of the growing flood of need.
“We must match the heroic response of the people of Pakistan with our own efforts and massive investments to strengthen their communities for the future. Rebuilding Pakistan in a resilient way will run in excess of USD 16 billion — and far more will be needed in the longer term,” he said.
The UN chief said Pakistan is doubly victimized by climate chaos and a morally bankrupt global financial system.
“That system routinely denies middle-income countries the debt relief and concessional funding needed to invest in resilience against natural disasters. And so, we need creative ways for developing countries to access debt relief and concessional financing when they need it the most,” he added.