U.N. Chief Travels To Flood-ravaged Areas In Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – On the final day of a two-day trip to raise awareness of the disaster, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited several flood-ravaged areas in Pakistan.

Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains and glacier melt in the northern mountains have killed over 1,391 people and destroyed homes, roads, railway tracks, bridges, livestock, and crops.

Huge areas of the country have been inundated, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. According to the government, nearly 33 million people’s lives have been disrupted. The damage is estimated to be RM134.94 billion in Pakistan, and both the government and Guterres have blamed the flooding on climate change.

The U.N. On Saturday, the secretary-general landed in Sindh province before flying over some of the worst-affected areas on his way to Balochistan, another badly hit province.

“It’s difficult not to be moved by such detailed descriptions of tragedy,” Guterres said after landing in Sindh, according to a video released by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif‘s office.

“Pakistan needs massive financial support. This is not a matter of generosity, it is a matter of justice.”

A video released by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb showed Guterres seated next to Sharif viewing flood-damaged areas from an aircraft window. “Unimaginable,” Guterres said, surveying the damage.

In July and August, Pakistan got 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain, or nearly 190% more than the 30-year average. The southern province of Sindh has seen 466% more rain than average.

Guterres said on Saturday the world needed to understand the impact of climate change on low-income countries.

“Humanity has been waging war on nature and nature strikes back,” he said.

“Nature strikes back in Sindh, but it was not Sindh that has made the emissions of greenhouse gases that have accelerated climate change so dramatically,” Guterres said. “There is a very unfair situation relative to the level of destruction.” – Reuters

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