Pakistan calls for flood aid ahead of donor conference

ISlamabad — Pakistan’s foreign minister on Tuesday issued an emotional appeal ahead of a major conference next week, urging the international community to generously raise funds for the country’s flood victims.

The gathering in Geneva on Monday – co-hosted by the United Nations and Pakistan – aims to raise funds for the victims of last summer’s unprecedented flooding, which experts say is partly a due to climate change. The disaster killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million Pakistanis. At one point, a third of the country’s territory was underwater.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday sought to draw attention to the plight of homeless survivors, many of whom are now forced to live outdoors amid harsh winter weather. harsh. His goal, he said, is for the world not to forget the victims of the floods.

The United Nations recently warned that funding raised for flood victims in Pakistan will dry up after January 15 as the world organization has so far received only a third of the 816 million emergency aid dollars the organization sought last October to buy food, medicine and other necessities. for survivors.

“Innocent Pakistanis are not to blame, but they have paid a heavy price for the floods caused by the climate,” Bhutto-Zardari said on television from Badin, one of the worst-hit areas. most heavily in the south of Sindh province.

He said Pakistan plays an insignificant role in global warming but the country remains vulnerable to the devastation caused by the climate. Experts say Pakistan emits less than 1% of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

Even before the heavy monsoon rains hit in mid-June, cash-strapped Pakistan was facing a severe financial crisis. Experts say the floods cost up to $40 billion in damage, and without international aid, Pakistan would not be able to rebuild destroyed homes and infrastructure.


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