Pakistan says donors at an international conference in Geneva have pledged to give more than $9bn to help it rebuild following last year’s devastating floods. Pakistan is hosting the event in Geneva on Monday with the United Nations as it seeks international assistance to cover around half of a total $16.3bn recovery bill.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres kicked off the one-day conference, attended by officials from nearly 40 other countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions.
The unprecedented floods caused by melting glaciers and record monsoon rains last year affected more than 33 million Pakistanis, killing more than 1,700 people and pushing about nine million others into poverty, according to the UN.
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Thousands of people are still living in open areas, tents and makeshift homes in Sindh and Balochistan, the two worst-hit provinces, with stagnant water still present in many areas. Pakistani Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the final tally came in above a target for the international community.
“Taken as a whole, these commitments total more than $9 billion and from what we know so far, these are all additional commitments from what was already given in terms of humanitarian assistance, etc., from both bilateral and multilateral partners,” she said, adding that a number of delegations at geneva had also offered up in-kind support.
‘We’re racing against time’
Earlier, Guterres praised Pakistan and its people for responding to “this epic tragedy with heroic humanity”. “We must match the heroic response of the people of Pakistan with our own efforts and massive investments to strengthen their communities for the future,” he said.
“Pakistan is doubly victimised by climate chaos and a morally bankrupt global financial system,” the UN chief added. “No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan.” “These flooded areas now look like a huge series of permanent lakes, transforming forever the terrain and the lives of people living there. No amount of pumps can remove this water in less than a year; and by July 2023, the worry is that these areas may flood again,” he wrote.
According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is responsible for less than one percent of global emissions but it remains among the top 10 nations vulnerable to climate change.
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