United Nations-led efforts to encourage the international community to stand by Pakistan after the deadly floods in the country last summer continue, with a conference held Monday in Geneva, Switzerland on supporting the country to make it “climate resilient”.
In his speech to the audience, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, stressed the need for radical reforms of the global financial system for the benefit of developing countries, and said that those who doubt the losses and damages incurred by these countries as a result of climate change should go to Pakistan, and added: “There is a loss. “There is damage. The damage caused by climate change is real. From floods and droughts to hurricanes and torrents. As always, the countries least responsible (for climate change) are the first to suffer.”
More than 33 million people have been affected by the floods in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, as a result of the floods, which many consider the largest weather disaster in the history of Pakistan.
Even today, months after the initial emergency, the floodwaters have not completely receded and the catastrophe has not yet ended for some eight million people who were forced to flee their homes due to the rising waters, which claimed more than 1,700 lives.
Widespread catastrophic damage
More than 2.2 million homes have been destroyed along with 13 percent of health facilities, 4.4 million acres of crops, more than 8,000 kilometers of roads, and other critical infrastructure, including some 440 bridges.
The Secretary-General said the cost of helping communities affected by the unprecedented monsoon rains in Pakistan, which began last June, “will exceed $16 billion, and more will be needed in the long term”.
Restoring hope for the future
Mr. Guterres stressed the importance of helping developing countries such as Pakistan become more resilient to the effects of climate change, and stressed that the international banking system needed reform to correct what he described as a fundamental error in it.
He added that Pakistan “is falling doubly victim to climate chaos and the morally bankrupt global financial system. This system consistently denies middle-income countries the debt relief and concessional financing needed to invest in resilience to natural disasters. So we need creative ways to enable developing countries to access relief.” Debt burdens and easy financing when you need it most.