Disasters & Accidents

UN Chief issues global appeal to ‘end war with nature’

Islamabad, Sep 10 (EFE).- The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday urged the global community “stop the madness” and “invest in renewable energy” as the world’s top diplomat wrapped up his two-day visit to flood-ravaged Pakistan on Saturday.

“From Islamabad, I am issuing a global appeal,” Guterres said. “Stop the madness. Invest in renewable energy now. End the war with nature.”

The UN chief, who landed in Pakistan early Friday, visited several flood-affected areas in the Balochistan and Sindh provinces on Saturday.

Guterres said Pakistan and other developing countries were paying a “horrific price for the intransigence of big emitters that continue to bet on fossil fuels.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif accompanied the secretary-general during his visits to affected areas in Sindh.

During the tour, Guterres said that the way the world was behaving was “very unfair” as he urged the global community to play its part in helping countries that had not contributed to global emissions. His remarks were telecast live on national television.

Footage published by the PM’s office showed Guterres seated next to Sharif viewing flood-hit areas from an aircraft window.

“Unimaginable,” Guterres uttered while looking down at damage from Sukkur to Usta Mohammad in Balochistan province.

In an address after a briefing in Usta Mohammad, Guterres said that humanity had been waging war on nature and that nature was now striking back.

“Nature strikes back in Sindh, but Sindh has not made the emission of greenhouse gasses that have exacerbated climate change,” said Guterres.

The UN top diplomat said it was essential for the international community to understand that Pakistan needs massive financial aid to overcome this crisis.

“It is not a matter of generosity, but a matter of justice,” he said, reiterating the UN’s commitment, strong support and solidarity with the flood-affected people of Pakistan.

He stressed that the international community must stop “this madness with which we are treating nature.”

“According to the scientific community, we need to reduce emissions by 45 per cent now,” the UN chief added.

The PM’s office reported that both leaders had visited a school set up for children from flood affected areas in Tent City in Osta Muhammad district Jaffarabad in Balochistan.

Guterres also visited a 4500-year-old archaeological site in Larkana district in Sindh.

The Larkana district chief told Efe that monsoon rains had damaged around 70% of the ruins of the Mohenjo Daro site, which is a world heritage site.

Pakistan has reported 1,400 deaths and 12,728 injured people since monsoon rains triggered floods across the country.

According to government data, over 33 million people — 15% of the 220 million-strong population — have been affected by the environmental catastrophe.

The UN secretary-general is due to leave Islamabad later on Saturday night.

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