The UN chief will arrive in Pakistan on Friday for a two-day visit to express solidarity with the South Asian country ravaged by devastating floods that have affected over 33 million people.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said during his visit UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will have meetings with Pakistani leadership and senior officials to exchange views on the national and global response to the catastrophe caused by climate change.
He will also visit the flood-hit areas and interact with displaced families and oversee the UN’s humanitarian response work in support of the government’s rescue and relief efforts for millions of affected people.
The ministry hoped the UN chief’s visit will further raise global awareness about the massive scale of this calamity and the loss of life and widespread devastation.
“It will contribute towards enhancing commensurate and coordinated international response to the humanitarian and other needs of the 33 million affected Pakistanis,” said the ministry.
So far, Pakistan received over 50 humanitarian assistance flights from Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates, China, Qatar, Uzbekistan, France, Turkmenistan, Jordan, UNHCR, UNICEF and World Food Program.
On Aug. 30, the UN and Pakistan’s government also issued a flash appeal for $160 million to cope with the devastation caused by unprecedented rains and floods.
The death toll from floods also reached 1,355 after 12 more people lost their lives during the past 24 hours, while 12,722 people have been injured in the rain and flood-related incidents across the country since mid-June.
Over 33 million of the country’s approximately 220 million population have been affected by the raging floods, causing a staggering loss of $10 billion in damages to an already weakened infrastructure.
Almost 45% of the country’s cropland has already been inundated by the floods, posing a serious threat to food security and further adding to the already skyrocketing inflation.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are also dealing with outbreaks of waterborne, skin and eye diseases, with health experts warning of a higher number of deaths from diarrhea, typhoid, malaria, dengue, gastrointestinal and other infections than from rains and floods.
“The UNSG (Antonio Guterres) has been consistently stressing the linkage of such disasters with the impacts of climate change and warning the international community about the existential threat to our planet in case climate change was not addressed in a timely and effective manner,” said the statement.