ISLAMABAD, August 30: The United Nations and Pakistan issued an appeal Tuesday for $160 million in emergency funding to help millions affected by record-breaking floods that have killed more than 1,150 people since mid-June.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres said Pakistan’s flooding, caused by weeks of unprecedented monsoon rains, were a signal to the world to step up action against climate change.
“Let’s stop sleepwalking toward the destruction of our planet by climate change,” he said in a video message to an Islamabad ceremony launching the funding appeal. “Today, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”
More than 33 million people, or one in seven Pakistanis, have been affected by the catastrophic flooding, which has devastated a country already trying to revive a struggling economy. More than 1 million homes have been damaged or destroyed in the past two and half months, displacing millions of people. Around a half million of those displaced are living in organized camps, while others have had to find their own shelter.
According to initial government estimates, the devastation caused $10 billion in damage to the economy.
“It is a preliminary estimate likely to be far greater,” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal told The Associated Press. More than 160 bridges and more than 3,400 kilometers (2,100 miles) of road have been damaged.
Although rains stopped three days ago, large swaths of the country remain underwater, and the main rivers, the Indus and the Swat, are still swollen. The National Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday warned emergency services to be on maximum alert, saying flood waters over the next 24 hours could cause further damage.
Rescuers continued to evacuate stranded people from inundated villages to safer ground. Makeshift tent camps have sprung up along highways. – Agencies