UN chief to appeal for massive support for Pakistan during upcoming visit

Residents walking through flood water as they head to their villages, in Sehwan, Pakistan, on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that he will appeal for massive support for Pakistan during his upcoming visit to the country, as one third of its territory is underwater.

"Tomorrow I will be flying to Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people and to appeal for the massive support of the international community to the Pakistanis, in this hour of need after the devastating floods that we are witnessing," the UN chief told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York before he was heading towards the Security Council chamber for a meeting on the situation in the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The top UN official underscored the importance of heeding the destruction that climate change brings while "there is a lot of attention on the war in Ukraine".

"People tend to forget there is another war - the war we are waging on nature, and nature is striking back, and climate change is supercharging the destruction of our planet," he said.

"Pakistan, Chad, and the Horn of Africa, where the drought is causing famine. All these things represent an enormous threat to all of us," he said.

"Today it is Pakistan. Tomorrow it can be anywhere else," he added.

"To deal with climate change, that is the defining issue of our time, a business-as-usual approach is pure suicide."

Mr Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, told reporters at the regular press briefing that the UN and partners have delivered food or cash assistance to at least 336,000 people impacted by the floods in Balochistan province of Pakistan.

"Distributions are currently underway for 117,000 people in Sindh province," said Mr Dujarric.

"In addition, we have provided 32 metric tons of emergency supplies to support children and women, including medicines and medical supplies, water purification tablets, safe delivery kits, and therapeutic nutritional supplements," he said.

An airlift from Dubai, established by the world body and its other partners, is going to focus on the worst affected areas of southern Sindh province.

"The first three of nine scheduled flights arrived yesterday with 40,000 sleeping mats, 15,000 kitchen sets and 5,000 tarpaulins. An additional six flights are scheduled in the coming days," the spokesman added.

According to the government of Pakistan, more than 1,300 people have died and over 12,700 have been injured by the floods. Over 1.1 million houses have been damaged and some 560,000 houses have been destroyed.

Over 630,000 men, women and children are reportedly living in relief camps across Pakistan, most of them in Sindh. Many more displaced people are living with host communities.

Access remains difficult with over 5,700km of roads damaged, and 246 bridges either damaged or destroyed. XINHUA

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