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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

20m flood victims need urgent humanitarian assistance: Sherry Rehman

The Minister said, “The UN has warned that 8.4 to 9.1 million people will be pushed below the poverty line. Winter will be harsh on the forgotten arc of climate misery here.

Disaster amnesia is not uncommon in a world driven by competing goals and the human tragedy wrought by Pakistan’s catastrophic flooding has been forgotten by many where 20 million flood affectees still needed urgent humanitarian assistance,” said Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman.

“But the climate-induced crisis in Pakistan has long-term implications for recovery and resilience in a context defined by systemic deficits in climate financing with 20 million people still currently dependent on humanitarian aid, while flash appeals just for the humanitarian gap by the United Nations have received only 30% of the US$816 million,” the minister said in a news release.

Read more: Pakistan floods were aggravated by climate change

The Minister said, “When a country has people living on relief and multilateral assistance on the shores of vulnerability, with new lakes being created by climate events, it is not easy to plan for resilient recovery, because building back for complex climate polycrises implies transformational re-sets.

These floods caused Loss and Damage worth US$30 billion, so just the rehabilitation and disaster-reconstruction needs are at least US$16.3 billion. This amount does not include investments required to support Pakistan’s adaptation to climate change and overall resilience of the country to future climate shocks.

The Minister said, “The UN has warned that 8.4 to 9.1 million people will be pushed below the poverty line. Winter will be harsh on the forgotten arc of climate misery here. The numbers are too huge; 33 million impacted literally meant we were reinventing the lives of populations covering the size of three medium-sized European countries at the same time. Today, after months of humanitarian operations, 14.6 million is the number of people who still need emergency food assistance from December 2022 to March 2023.

We should not forget that almost 3.9 million people in Sindh and 1.6 million in Balochistan are facing severe food insecurity, with 5.5 million people no longer having access to safe and clean drinking water. The UN’s ongoing assistance is facing a looming risk of ending prematurely as they are running out of funds to continue the needed support. World Food Programme (WFP) has said that they will run out of funds by mid-January for Pakistan, putting an additional 1.1 million people at extreme risk of food insecurity. Funds are being taken from every sector of the Pakistan government to meet survival needs, but the size of the need is huge.”

The UN has received only US$262 million or just 30% from international donors out of the US$816 million under the Floods Response Plan. “While the level of human suffering from the floods cannot be monetized, repercussions of climate extremes have torn apart the social infrastructure in the flood-affected zones and people need immediate and urgent relief.

Read more: Angelina Jolie writes a painful note on floods in Pakistan

The Minister said that over 240,000 people remain displaced with at least 10 districts of Sindh province continuing to report standing water, while the same situation persists in two districts of Balochistan. People have started returning to their homes, but they now face compounding issues of food insecurity and health-related challenges,” she said.

The Minister warned that children are at the frontline of the flood aftermath, with 9.6 million children in urgent need of humanitarian assistance out of a total of 20 million affected. “With the onset of winter and temperatures dropping to single digits, the survival of children in camps is at stake. We urge all local philanthropists and international agencies to assist provincial governments in sharing this unprecedented burden with Pakistan.