Islamabad — UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Friday to show solidarity with the country’s people following the devastation caused by the unprecedented rains and countrywide flood. He appealed for help proportional to the “climate change catastrophe.”
Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan visited the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre in Islamabad.
Flooding and landslides due to unprecedented rainfall have brought widespread destruction across Pakistan.
Pakistan has been under near-continuous monsoon rainfall, flash flooding, and rain-induced landslides since mid-June, causing widespread devastation and casualties affecting millions across the South Asian country.
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Pakistani authorities briefed Guterres on the latest developments and the Pakistan-led response upon his arrival.
His two-day visit to the country is also about justice for the people.
“My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and their homes, businesses, and livelihoods,” he told journalists in Pakistan’s capital.
A terrifying wall of water
“We have all seen the extraordinary destruction and can only imagine the power and destruction of the water as it tore through villages, roads, bridges, and everything else in its path. It was a terrifying wall of water,” Guterres said.
He added: “No country deserves this fate, but particularly not countries like Pakistan that don’t contribute to global warming.”
The UN chief stressed that Pakistan and developing countries are paying a horrific price for the stubbornness of big emitters that continue to bet on fossil fuels. Despite science and common sense.
Message to the world and people of Pakistani
Earlier in the day, Guterres and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC) to synergize the national response to the ongoing floods.
Speaking directly to the people of Pakistan, the UN chief said: “I’ve witnessed your enormous generosity of housing millions of Afghan refugees, protecting and sheltering them for 40 years.
Nature strikes back
Speaking to the international community, Mr. Guterres said: “Pakistan needs massive financial support to respond to this crisis that has already cost $30 billion and counting.”
He stressed that it is essential that the global community recognize its responsibility, especially the highest contributing countries to climate change.
Climate change and Pakistan
Guterres reminded the world that Pakistan’s emissions level is relatively low, “but Pakistan is one of the worst impacted countries by climate change.”
The effects of global climate change place Pakistan among the ten most vulnerable countries globally.