Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 8 (EFE).- Pakistan’s prime minister Shehbaz Sharif told the UN Climate Summit Tuesday that his country needs additional funding to mitigate the effects of recent devastating floods that affected more than 33 million people.
Speaking at COP27 in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Sharif said “if we have to fight, rebuild and repair our infrastructure, we can only do it through additional funding, not through additional borrowing and debt,” which would become a financial debt trap for his country.
Pakistan’s worst floods in decades have killed 1,739 people, including 747 children, since mid-June, affecting more than 33 million people and damaging 2.2 million homes.
Average rainfall in the south of the country that is seven times higher than usual, together with the melting of glaciers in the north, have uprooted more than 8,000 km of roads, damaged more than 3,000 km of railways and destroyed more than 1.5 million hectares of crops, said Sharif, who estimated the losses at more than $30 billion.
Pakistan is suffering the consequences of climate change despite its “very low carbon footprint,” the prime minister insisted, making his country “victims of something with which we have nothing to do”.
Sharif called for urgent help with winter looming and millions of people requiring shelter, medical treatment and food in several provinces in Pakistan.
“How on earth can one expect from us that we will undertake this gigantic task on our own?” he wondered.
The prime minister said it was the duty and responsibility of the powers that be to fully grasp the plight of Pakistan’s 220 million people, and warned that “the gap between assistance and needs is widening by the day.”
The floodwaters have not yet receded in some parts of the country, such as in the southeastern province of Sindh, where regional authorities estimate that 30% of the land remained flooded last week.
This situation, in addition to encouraging the spread of disease, also means several educational centers are closed, preventing more than two million children in the regions hardest hit by the floods from attending classes, Unicef warned in a recent statement.
COP27 began on Sunday and will be held until Nov. 18 with a view to implementing the legacy of COP26 and financing for the least developed countries to combat climate change. EFE