The UN secretary general has urged for support for Pakistan, which continues rebuilding in the wake of last year’s devastating floods, calling the country a “double victim” of “climate chaos” and “unjust” global financial system.
“Pakistan is a double victim – of climate chaos, and of our outdated and unjust global financial system that prevents middle-income countries from accessing much needed resources to invest in adaptation and resilience,” said Antonio Guterres in an address at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
Triggered by torrential monsoon rains, the 2022 floods submerged one third of Pakistan, claimed over 1,700 lives, destroyed 2 million homes, critical infrastructure, and affected 33 million people – half of them children, according to UN figures.
The government, supported by the UN launched a flood response plan, requesting $816 million to support 9.5 million of the most affected people. That appeal is about 69% funded.
“Pakistan needs and deserves massive support from the international community,” he said.
“The country is responsible for less than 1% of greenhouse gas emissions – but its people are 15 times more likely to die from climate-related impacts than people elsewhere.”
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Guterres said “Pakistan is a litmus test for climate justice” and countries that contributed most to global heating must contribute most to “righting the harm it has done.”
“I will never forget the climate-related carnage I saw. Lives, homes, livelihoods, schools, hospitals – all obliterated,” he said.
“And I will never forget the stories I heard – particularly from women and men who abandoned their own homes and possessions to save their neighbours from the rising waters … While much of the water has receded, the needs have not.”
The secretary general said billions were pledged, but Pakistan is still waiting for much of the funding, with delays “undermining people’s efforts to rebuild their lives.”
He called on donors, and international financial institutions “to make good on their commitments, and put the money they have promised on the table as soon as possible.”