United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday visited flood-affected areas in Sindh, stressing the developed nations to assist Pakistan as the international body’s help is “a drop in the ocean” compared to what is needed to rebuild the economy.

Nearly 1,400 people have died in floods that inundated a third of the country — an area the size of the United Kingdom — wiping out crops and destroying homes, businesses, roads, and bridges.

Guterres expressed the hope that his visit would galvanise support for Pakistan, which needs at least $10 billion to repair damaged infrastructure.

The Prime Minister’s Office showed UN chief’s activities in a series of tweets.

The UN chief, in a conversation with journalists in Sukkur, said that there needs to be a serious discussion on loss and damages as “what the UN is doing in Pakistan is a drop in the ocean of what is needed”.

“We are aware of our limited capacity and our resources. But you can absolutely be sure about one thing: we’re are in total solidarity with the Pakistani people.”

The UN chief said that he will ask the international community to ensure that they help Pakistan “now” while vowing to raise awareness about the disastrous situation.

Pakistan receives heavy — often destructive — rains during its annual monsoon season, which is crucial for agriculture and water supplies.

But downpours as intense as this year’s have not been seen for decades.

“It is not a matter of generosity, but a matter of justice,” he said, reiterating the UN’s commitment, strong support and solidarity with the flood-affected populace of Pakistan.

Guterres said that huge damages and losses were caused by the floods to human lives and properties.

He stressed that the international community must realise the serious impacts of greenhouse emissions as nature was striking back in the form of natural calamities.

Greenhouse gases have accelerated climate change and the nations with larger greenhouse emission footprints must understand these issues, Guterres added.

Pakistan expects to cut its GDP growth projection for the financial year 2022-2023 to 3% from 5% due to the losses, planning minister Ahsan Iqbal told an earlier news conference.

The United Nations has already launched an appeal for $160 million in aid to help Pakistan cope with the disaster.

In a tweet earlier, the UNSG said developing nations were paying a “horrific price” for the world’s reliance on fossil fuels.

“Pakistan and other developing countries are paying a horrific price for the intransigence of big emitters that continue to bet on fossil fuels,” Guterres said.

“From Islamabad, I am issuing a global appeal: Stop the madness. Invest in renewable energy now. End the war with nature.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan logged another five fatalities — three of whom were children — in the last 24 hours, according to NDMA’s daily situation update. Cumulatively, there are 1,396 fatalities since mid-June, 499 of whom are children.

The UN chief said that humanity had been waging war on nature and the nature was now striking back. “And nature strikes back in Sindh, but Sindh has not made the emission of greenhouse gases that have exacerbated climate change.”

So, there was a “very unfair situation in relation to the level of destruction we are seeing in Sindh.”

“And it is essential for the international community to understand that Pakistan, including Sindh, needs today massive financial support to overcome this crisis,” the secretary general stressed, saying that this was not the matter of generosity, but of justice.

He continued that the world needed to stop “this madness with which we are treating nature”.

“According to the scientific community, we need to reduce emissions by 45 percent now.”

Guterres expressed solidarity with the Pakistani people. “We will do everything we can to raise awareness and request those who have the capacity to support Pakistan […] to request that they do it, they do it now, they do it massively and they do it looking into the preparation to face future challenges.”

“Our commitment, strong and emotional solidarity is something you can count on,” he added.


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