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Pakistan, UN jointly appeal for $160 million to deal with catastrophic floods

Tuesday saw a joint flash plea from Pakistan and the UN for USD 160 million to assist the nation in dealing with the devastating floods that have killed more than 1,100 people, ruined infrastructure and agriculture, and affected 33 million people, or one-seventh of the nation's population.

August 30, 2022 / 05:46 PM IST
United Nations

United Nations

Pakistan and the United Nations on Tuesday jointly issued a flash appeal for USD 160 million to help the country deal with the catastrophic floods that have killed more than 1,100 people, destroyed infrastructure and crops, and affected 33 million people or one-seventh of the country's population.

"Pakistan is awash in suffering," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a video message. "The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids – the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding." He said the funds will provide 5.2 million people with food, water, sanitation, emergency education, protection and health support.

The '2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)' was jointly launched by the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations after monsoon rains triggered massive floods that killed more than 1,100 people and forced Pakistan to seek international support to deal with catastrophe. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari urged the global community to extend support to Pakistan and said that the devastation witnessed showed that the country had become ground zero of global warming, the biggest existential threat of this century, according to Foreign Office.

"The current cycle of super flooding we see today is part of extreme weather patterns. Unprecedented levels of cloud bursts and torrential rains have triggered widespread devastation, urban flooding, river floods and landslides, resulting in the loss of human life, livelihoods and livestock, Bilawal said. He described this year's "super floods" as a "climate calamity", adding that "what we are facing today has been no above average monsoon."

The minister said 72 districts were declared calamity-hit, over 33 million people were affected which is the size of a small country. "Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and forced to spend days and nights under a merciless sky and [the] lack of access to food, water and shelter are making life harder with each passing day, he lamented.

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He said the government had earmarked USD 173 million to help flood-hit people through direct cash transfers, while Rs5 billion (USD 23 million) had been allocated to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for relief activities. "The government is also providing Rs 1 million (USD 4,615) in ex-gratia compensation to the next of kin of each deceased; Rs250,000 (USD 1,154) for injuries and partially damaged houses; and Rs500,000 (USD 2,308) for destroyed houses," he said.

The launch event was attended by all UN Member States as well as various UN agencies and humanitarian organizations working in the area of disaster relief. The FRP is expected to complement the Government's overall humanitarian response to the recent floods caused by unprecedented rains in Pakistan. Meanwhile, aid continue to pour in as Canada announced to provide 5 million dollars for flood victims while President Xi Jinping of China sent message of support to Pakistan government.

Earlier, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan needs more than USD 10 billion to repair and rebuild infrastructure damaged by monsoon rains. He said that losses were "higher than USD 10 billion". The Pakistan government has decided to set up a special body to deal with the disastrous floods. The decision to form such a body was taken in a meeting of the ruling alliance on Monday. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The National Flood Response and Coordination Centre would comprise federal ministers, representatives of armed forces, chief ministers and experts and provide proper institutional response to the calamity.
PTI
first published: Aug 30, 2022 05:46 pm
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