- Sherry Rehman addresses Pakistan-UN joint flash appeal ceremony in Geneva.
- Requests timely efforts to save flood victims from cold weather.
- Says millions of flood victims still await help with winter around corner.
Pakistan and United Nations jointly launched a flash appeal to seek more assistance and aid for the population affected by the cataclysmic floods that hit the country in June and are still keeping thousands of acres inundated after 16 weeks.
While addressing the flash appeal ceremony in Geneva, Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman stressed the need for urgent medical assistance and timely efforts to save flood victims of Pakistan from the effects of cold weather soon approaching Pakistan.
She drew the international community’s attention to Pakistan’s urgent need for life-saving medicines, weather-resilient tents and goods as millions of people still await help and lands are still inundated, with winter around the corner.
“The flood affectees and Pakistan is facing the real race against time as winter is coming,” the minister said.
She said that the flood victims have been left at the mercy of the open sky.
“Despite shelters made available for 598,000 people, up to 7.5 million affected population is still scrambling for dry land.”
Rehman said that four million people are living in areas where temperatures reach zero and even in warm areas, the mercury drops below 10 degrees Celcius.
The minister began by saying that the monstrous downpours inundated more than one-third of Pakistan and killed approximately 17,000 people and still counting.
“We are still in the longest rescue and life-saving phase crossing 16 nightmarish weeks because three different types of floodings, all clustered in one era-defining climate disaster to create new records of extreme weather, water volume, volatility and unpredictability,” Rehman said.
Sharing the details of the current situation, the minister said that 34 districts are still crisis affected even after 16 weeks. She said that many victims are still seeking land hubs for clean water, food and medical assistance and even dry lands in Sindh to bury their dead.
Situation leading to health emergency: WFP official
World Food Programme country head for Pakistan Chris Kaye said that the flood situation in Pakistan is leading to a health emergency as health is an immediate challenge in the current circumstances.
Currently, we are entering the second phase of the flood’s effects on the victims. There is a risk of a major health crisis to arise as there is floodwater, no facilities for cleaning, and a disease outbreak,” he said.
He further stated that keeping up with the provision of food and medical supplies is another challenge, while the supply of tents is also crucial as millions of people are still without shelter.
Kaye urged the developed countries to step forward for Pakistan’s assistance.
He had earlier stated the flash appeal was launched on August 30.
He said that they have now decided to provide aid worth $816 million instead of $160 million under this programme, which will focus on health, provision of tents, water, agriculture, and education.
“$816 million seems a lot but there are 33 million affected population as well,” he said, adding that he hopes that the international bodies will help Pakistan.
Kaye further stated that the effects of flood-related destruction will remain for a long time.