UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday revealed that the ongoing flooding had cost Pakistan $30 billion, urging the international community to extend “massive support” to a country that had little contribution to the emissions but bore the brunt of the climate change.

The UN chief is in Pakistan to show solidarity with the country devastated by climate-induced floods and get a firsthand account of the devastation.

As many as 33 million people were affected by the natural disaster with people losing not just homes but their livelihood.

The scale of the devastation seems to have surpassed the “super floods” of 2010 as at that time Pakistan suffered losses of close to $10 billion.

While the government’s revised estimate suggested the direct and indirect losses could be in the range of $20 billion, the UN Secretary-General at a news conference with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif came up with a figure of a whopping $30 billion.

“I want to say a few words to the international community. Pakistan needs massive financial support to respond to this crisis that has cost according to some estimates I have heard today about $30 billion and counting,” the UN chief said at a press conference.

He was speaking with the Prime Minister at the National Flood Response and Coordination Center where the UN chief was given a comprehensive briefing about the damages and rescue and relief efforts.

Guterres insisted that extending support to Pakistan would not just be expressing solidarity but doing justice to a country that was the frontline state of the negative fallout of climate change.

“Humanity has declared a war on nature and nature has struck back. But nature is blind it is not striking back on those who contributed more to the war on nature,” he said.
 
He said Pakistan had contributed little to climate change but Pakistan was one of the most dramatically impacted hotspots of the consequence of climate change.

“So, it’s like nature has attacked the wrong one. It should be at those who are more responsible for climate change,” he said while referring to the countries contributing the most to climate change.

The UNSG said there was an obligation of the international community to support Pakistan massively in the present circumstances.

The UN chief is no stranger to Pakistan as he has had 17 years long association with the country. He was the UN High Commissioner for refugees at the time of the Afghan war. He acknowledged the enormous generosity shown by Pakistan to host 6 million Afghan refugees.

“My voice and my services are entirely at the disposal of the government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan,” he said prompting the premier to acknowledge his strong words of support for Pakistan in this hour of need.

‘EVERY PENNY TO GO TO FLOOD VICTIMS’: Thanking the UNSG, PM Shehbaz avowed that “every penny” for the flood victims would be spent transparently and go towards the suffering humanity.

The premier said that the federal and provincial governments and all stakeholders including the armed forces were working together to provide relief and rescue to 33 million affected people.

He said the rescue and relief efforts were in full gear and that people had been moved to safe places. He also thanked different countries and organisations for extending support to Pakistan.

He maintained that the nation would soon enter the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase and that Pakistan was doing its best with its meagre resources but would require sufficient support to repair the damaged infrastructure.

PM Shehbaz further stated that Pakistan’s floods were a glaring manifestation of climate change and that it was high time to take notice of the situation.

ARRIVAL: Earlier, Secretary-General Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Friday for a two-day visit to express solidarity with the government and people devastated by catastrophic floods in the country.

He was received by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar at the Islamabad International Airport.

Shortly after his arrival, the UNSG visited Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s residence where he was received by the premier, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other leaders.

Guterres and PM Shehbaz held a meeting at the Prime Minister’s House.

“I have arrived in Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here,” said the secretary-general in a tweet.

“I appeal for massive support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe,” he added.

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