UN, Pakistan launch revised $816M flash appeal for flood victims

5-time higher than previous appeal of $160M, revised plan to help South Asian country cope with devastation caused by super floods.

UN, Pakistan launch revised $816M flash appeal for flood victims

The UN and Pakistan on Tuesday issued a revised flash appeal for $816 million to cope with the devastation caused by unprecedented rains and floods in the South Asian country, claiming nearly 1,700 lives.

The revised assistance plan, five times higher than the original $160 million appeal, was launched at a ceremony in Geneva to gear up for the rehabilitation of millions of Pakistanis struck by the last month’s historic floods.

The event was joined by Pakistan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, and Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq via video link from Islamabad, while Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman represented Pakistan in Geneva.

Khar, in her remarks, urged the international community to “come together” to support over 33 million flood victims, who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Pakistan’s government, the UN agencies, and other aid agencies together have so far reached only 20% of the total flood victims across the country despite their "all out" efforts, she maintained.

Calling for a joint global response to the lurking climate change challenges, she said it is the job of the government and the international community to come together not only to support the flood victims in this difficult time but to equip them to survive similar climate-induced catastrophes in the future.

Climate catastrophe

The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths called for a “robust” response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the wake of recent super floods.

The original $160 million appeal jointly launched by the UN and Islamabad late last month has so far generated a sum of $90 million, he added.

Citing the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as saying “it’s not the matter of generosity but it’s the matter of justice,” Griffiths noted that millions of Pakistanis are in need of immediate help in the face of an overwhelming catastrophe.

Describing the recent floods, which have inundated a third of Pakistan, as a "climate catastrophe," Griffiths noted: “It's the climate change that is now directly driving the disasters.”

Sherry Rehman, in her remarks, called for a concerted financial response from the international community to over 7 million people “who are still looking for dry land” as the winter approaches.

Pakistan’s government and the aid agencies, she observed, are putting in their best to help the affected people, however, the catastrophe is so “challenging” and “complex” that Islamabad alone cannot cope with it.

The looming winter, she warned, might further exacerbate the situation in the flood-battered areas, where several waterborne eye and skin diseases are already on the rise.

On the health situation and response, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization, said that tens of thousands of people in the flood-stricken areas are suffering from diarrhea, gastroenteritis, dengue fever, malaria, and skin issues.

The situation, she warned, has already reached an alarming scale, and could further aggravate if immediate actions were not taken.

‘Türkiye will continue to support Islamabad’

The Turkish ambassador to the UN in Geneva said at the event that Ankara had immediately responded to the first flash appeal by sending thousands of tons of relief supplies by air and road.

Ankara has established an "air bridge" and the "Goodness Train Expeditions" in collaboration with Türkiye's Ministry for National Defense and the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure to ship humanitarian aid to the flood-battered areas, Sadik Arslan added.

So far, Türkiye has sent 15 planes and 13 "goodness trains" loaded with thousands of tons of relief goods.

“Turkish people will not get relieved until our Pakistani brothers feel relieved,” he said, adding that Ankara will stand by Islamabad till the rehabilitation of the last flood victim.

Urging the global community to help the flood-hit Pakistanis at this testing time, he opined that at least $1 billion in financial aid would help Islamabad handle the post-floods challenges.

Poverty likely to soar

Torrential rains – 10 times heavier than usual – have also damaged nearly 45% of the country's cropland, posing a serious threat to the country's food security.

The government has estimated a staggering loss of about $30 billion inflicted by the catastrophe on the already tottering economy, mainly in terms of infrastructure and agriculture.

Preliminary estimates by the World Bank suggest that as a direct consequence of the floods, the national poverty rate could potentially increase by 4.5% to reach 7% points, pushing between 9.9 million and 15.4 million people into poverty and intensifying the depth and severity of poverty for already poor households.

Women are especially vulnerable to poverty, with only 22.6% of women in Pakistan active in the labor market, and the income of an average woman in Pakistan at around 16% of that of an average man.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Ekim 2022, 20:11

Hüseyin Demir

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