Pakistan’s Foreign Minister demands compensation for the damages caused by the floods

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister demands compensation for the damages caused by the floods

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Pakistan’s foreign minister has reiterated calls for reparations for the unprecedented devastation caused by this summer’s floods, saying debt relief could be a mechanism to do so.

At the UN climate summit in Egypt on Wednesday, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told The Associated Press that the world is unprepared to deal with weather disasters of this scale and urged countries to find ways to deal with the problem.

“There’s no pot of gold sitting around, or any international financial mechanism really available to deal with a tragedy of this scale,” he said.

His comments come as Pakistan races against time to organize tents, food and other supplies for flood victims just weeks into winter. Climate-induced flooding 1,739 people were killed, hundreds of thousands were displaced and caused about 40 billion dollars in damageaccording to the World Bank.

“Many months after the initial flooding and rains, there are still many areas under water,” Bhutto-Zardari said, adding that the World Health Organization had warned that the country was facing a health crisis due to waterborne diseases.

He added that instead of “charity” or “reparations” to pay for climate damage, nations should look at “necessary solutions that we can offer that can be beneficial to developing and developing countries.”

One is to write off debts owed by developing countries to rich nations, allowing countries to spend that money on clean energy and adapting to worsening weather caused by climate change.

Experts say Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4% of the world’s historical emissions blamed on climate change. The US is responsible for 21.5%, China for 16.5%, and the European Union for 15%.

Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan would hold a conference of international donors early next year to seek financial support to begin much-needed rehabilitation and reconstruction in flood-hit areas, where thousands of people are still living in tents and makeshift homes.

Bhutto-Zardari’s comments come more than a month after the United Nations issued a revised appeal for five times more international aid to Pakistan amid rising deaths from waterborne and other diseases. The United Nations in October raised its request from $160 million to $816 million, saying the latest estimates indicated an urgent need for long-term aid next year.

Doctors in Pakistan’s worst-hit southern Sindh province and southern Balochistan are still trying to contain an outbreak of waterborne diseases that have killed nearly 400 people in flood-hit areas since July. According to the World Health Organization, about 10% of Pakistan’s health facilities were damaged by the floods, leaving millions without care.

However, most of those displaced by the floods have returned to their homes.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Pakistan’s flood-affected areas in September, assuring Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of his utmost support in covering the flood victims’ ordeal. Sharif also attended a climate change conference in Egypt this week and appealed for help to deal with flood damage.

Bhutto-Zardari said Guterres was talking about debt relief for climate-affected countries. “Pakistan is the eighth most climate-stressed country on the planet, but many of the most climate-stressed countries on the planet are also in debt, and that debt is owed to developed countries,” Bhutto-Zardari said.

China and Washington have so far been the biggest contributors to Pakistan’s flood response, although several other countries have also flown in aid, many flood victims in Pakistan say they are still without any or very little help from the government. or aid agencies.

China’s leader is not attending this year’s climate summit, as is the leader of India, Pakistan’s arch-rival and one of the world’s top polluters.

Bhutto-Zardari said “it would be helpful if India participated at an appropriate level”.

“And we hope that our neighbors will also take this issue seriously,” he said. “This is really something that we can only fight if we stand together around the world and take our responsibilities seriously.”

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Ahmed reported from the city of Islamabad, Pakistan.

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.



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