‘Never seen climate carnage on such scale’: UN chief after visit to flood-hit Pakistan

Islamabad: After accessing the situation of flood-hit Pakistan, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday said that he has “never seen climate carnage” on such a scale, blaming wealthier countries for the devastation.

“I have seen many humanitarian disasters in the world, but I have never seen climate carnage on the scale of the floods here in Pakistan,” he said at a press conference in the port city of Karachi after witnessing the worst of the damage in southern Pakistan, ARY News reported. “I have simply no words to describe what I have seen today,” the UN chief said.

“As our planet continues to warm, all countries will increasingly suffer losses and damage from climate beyond their capacity to adapt. This is a global crisis. It demands a global response,” he added. UN chief further said that families had lost their houses, and the farmers had lost their crops and their livestock.

Massive and urgent financial support for Pakistan is the need of the hour, he said, adding this is not a question of solidarity or generosity but is the question of justice.

“I was moved by the generosity of people affected by the Pakistan floods toward one another. They have opened their homes and shared what they have. This is an example of solidarity for all countries as the impacts of the climate crisis continue to impact the most vulnerable,” Guterres tweeted. 

He called upon the international community to scale up their support for flood-hit Pakistan saying that “It is a question of justice, Pakistan is paying the price of something that was created by others.” Guterres said that he hopes his visit will galvanise support for Pakistan, which has put the provisional cost of the catastrophe at more than USD 30 billion, according to the government`s flood relief centre.

UN chief on Saturday visited several areas of Pakistan ravaged by floods, calling for increased global financial support at the end of a two-day trip aimed at raising awareness of the disaster, ARY News reported. Pakistan receives heavy — often destructive — rains during its annual monsoon season, which is crucial for agriculture and water supplies. But the heavy downpour this year has created havoc in the country, while rapidly melting glaciers in the north have for months heaped pressure on waterways. 

Pakistan is responsible for less than one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions but is eighth on a list compiled by the NGO Germanwatch of countries most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change.

“Wealthier countries are morally responsible for helping developing countries like Pakistan to recover from disasters like this, and to adapt to build resilience to climate impacts that unfortunately will be repeated in the future,” Guterres said, adding that G20 nations cause 80 per cent of today`s emissions.

Pakistan needed “massive” financial support for relief, recovery and rehabilitation in the wake of the catastrophic floods that displaced more than 33 million people and are estimated to have caused USD 30 billion of damage, UN Secretary-General said after he attended a briefing at the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) alongside Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

UN Secretary-General who was on a two-day visit to Pakistan landed on Friday to express solidarity with the country`s people drenched by extreme monsoon rains that have led to the country`s worst flooding in a decade.

According to an official statement, the Secretary-General`s visit will further raise global awareness about the massive scale of this calamity and the resulting loss of life and widespread devastation.

Record monsoon and heavy floods in Pakistan have given rise to hunger and various illnesses which have affected 33 million people and the experts believe that the situation would aggravate in the coming days as the flood affectees are forced to live under the sky depriving the required resources.

Huge areas of the country are still underwater and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes.In the wake of severe floods, the initially estimated losses have accumulated in the range of USD 18 billion, Pakistan`s agriculture sector faces the worst blow as the agriculture growth might remain zero or slide into negative against the envisaged target of 3.9 per cent for the current financial year 2022-23.

The catastrophic floods displaced more than 33 million people and are estimated to have caused USD 30 billion of damage.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Pakistan is facing one of the worst flooding events in its history.

The government estimates that millions across the country are affected by the rains, floods and impacts such as landslides, destroying infrastructure, homes, agricultural land and livestock.

The calamitous floods have so far claimed at least 1,325 people in Pakistan.

The human and socio-economic toll is expected to increase as flood levels continue to rise, with immense pressure on the country`s dams.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said that it was the wettest August since records began in 1961. National rainfall was 243 per cent above average. In the province of Balochistan, it was +590 per cent and in Sindh +726 per cent, according to the monthly report.

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