New York: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday highlighted the devastation caused by the floods in his country due to the impact of the climate catastrophe and urged the global leaders to act before it`s too late.
“What happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” he said in a passionate address to the United Nations General Assembly, adding that life of 33 million people had “changed forever.”
“For 40 days and 40 nights, biblical flood poured on us. Even today, huge swathes of the country are still underwater. 33 million people including women and children are at high risk of health hazards. More than 1,500 of my people have gone from the world including 400 children. Far more are in peril,” Sharif said while addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, as per Dawn newspaper.
Pakistan`s PM said that the purpose of his speech was to explain the impact of the climate catastrophe that has put one-third of Pakistan in such a situation that “no one had seen in living memory”.
“It is time to ask why… time to ask what must be done. Our forests are burning. More heatwaves are coming. We had a monster monsoon. It was the monsoon on steroids as was described by the UN secretary-general. Pakistan emits less than 1 per cent of greenhouse gases.”
Talking about the concerns, PM Sharif said that he is really worried that after the cameras will shift to “conflicts like the Ukraine”, Pakistan will be left alone, Dawn reported.
He stated that the future was “dimmed by new fragility, lost homes, decimated livelihoods, deluged croplands, permanent food insecurity and exposure to uncertain futures”.
“Some 11 million people will be pushed further below the poverty line, while others will drift to cramped urban shelters, leaving little room for climate-smart rebuilding.””Nature has unleashed her fury on Pakistan without looking at our carbon footprint, which is next to nothing. Our actions did not contribute to this,” he reiterated.
Pakistan`s PM said that the leaders of the world have to come together to “act now.”
He said Pakistan`s urgent priority right now was to ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of destitution and hunger. To enable any such policy momentum, he said, Pakistan needed a stable external environment, reported Dawn.
The unprecedented floods in Pakistan are estimated to have caused losses worth USD 18 billion and aggravated macroeconomic fundamentals despite a resumption of the IMF deal.
Close to eight million people have been displaced by the disaster and the UN along with the authorities and partners have continued to race to reach affected populations with desperately needed relief items.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, noted that 7.6 million people in Pakistan have been displaced by the floods, with nearly 600,000 living in relief sites.