The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called for support for Pakistan as the country continues to rebuild after the devastating floods that occurred last year. He referred to Pakistan as a “double victim” of both “climate chaos” and an “unjust” global financial system.
Guterres made this appeal at the UN headquarters in New York, emphasizing that Pakistan had been severely affected by the impacts of climate change and faced challenges in accessing the necessary resources to invest in adaptation and resilience.
The floods in 2022, triggered by torrential monsoon rains, submerged a significant portion of Pakistan, resulting in over 1,700 fatalities, the destruction of 2 million homes, critical infrastructure damage, and affecting 33 million people, including many children, according to UN data.
To respond to the crisis, the government, with support from the UN, initiated a flood response plan and requested $816 million to assist 9.5 million of the most affected individuals. However, this appeal is currently only 69% funded.
Guterres stressed the need for substantial international support for Pakistan, highlighting that the country is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but is significantly more vulnerable to climate-related impacts compared to other regions.
He characterized Pakistan as a “litmus test for climate justice” and called on countries that have contributed the most to global warming to take the lead in addressing the harm caused.
Guterres recounted the devastation he witnessed during the floods and the stories of individuals who had selflessly helped their neighbors during the crisis. While the floodwaters have receded, the needs of the affected population remain significant.
The secretary-general urged donors and international financial institutions to fulfill their commitments and provide the promised funding to Pakistan promptly, emphasizing that delays were hindering the rebuilding efforts and recovery of the affected communities.