Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in the early hours of Friday, said that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has promised to do everything within his capacity to raise support for Pakistan which has been hit by catastrophic floods.
Unusually severe monsoon rains and glacial melt from the north triggered by climate change have submerged a third of the country and killed more than 1,500 people.
PM Shehbaz, who is in New York to address the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, “emphasised Pakistan’s extreme vulnerability to climatic changes despite its minimal contribution to global carbon emissions” during a meeting with Guterres on the sidelines, according to a tweet from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“UN Secretary-General committed to do everything possible to mobilise support for Pakistan,” the PM’s Office said.
The prime minister appreciated the Secretary-General’s timely visit to Pakistan, affirming strong solidarity with Pakistan in the wake of the unfolding humanitarian disaster.
On the occasion, PM Shehbaz also highlighted the dire human rights situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and expressed the hope that the Secretary-General “will use his good offices to facilitate a just and peaceful solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions”, the PM’s Office said.
The UNSG visited Pakistan earlier this month to express solidarity with the flood-hit nation.
The prime minister is scheduled to address the UNGA session today to tell Pakistan’s story of “anguish and pain” to the world. PM Shehbaz has also met world leaders apart from the UNSG, where he appealed for help in light of the deadly floods.
Following his meeting with the UN chief, the prime minister attended a photo exhibition with the UN global communication head at the UN headquarters.
“These photos tell a tale of misery, pain, and anguish that 33 million people of Pakistan are experiencing for no fault of theirs,” the premier said describing the exhibition.
“Our story needs sympathetic hearing.”
Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open and scores of people have died of diseases and floods since the beginning of the monsoon season.
Stagnant floodwaters, spread over hundreds of kilometres, may take two to six months to recede. Already they have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever.
Authorities and aid workers have said more immediate help is needed for displaced families exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards, such as snake and dog bites.
Despite the efforts of the government and local and foreign relief organisations, many people are in dire need of food, shelter, medical assistance and medicines.