Friday, January 27, 2023

UN, Pakistan launch $816M flash appeal for flood victims to avert ‘second wave of death’

The United Nations and Pakistan on October 4 issued a revised flash appeal for $816 million to cope with the devastation caused by unprecedented rains and floods.

UN humanitarians have raised their funding request from $160 million to $816 million as Pakistan is battling a “second wave of death and destruction” due to the outbreak of waterborne diseases as the flood water are receding.

According to the revised UN Floods Response Plan:

  • The flooding has affected 33 million people
  • 1,700 people including 630 children have been killed
  • 20.6 million need urgent humanitarian assistance

Around 9.5 million people are being targeted for lifesaving assistance in the expanded response plan, through to the end of May next year.

Some 84 districts nationwide have been declared “calamity hit” by the Government of Pakistan, mainly in Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. At least 7.9 million have been displaced, with nearly 600,000 living in relief camps. There are an estimated 800,000 refugees, including around 400,000 children.

Funds needed quickly to save lives

“We need all of these funds, and we need them quickly,” said Julien Harneis, Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan, at the gathering in Geneva where the revised ‘2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan’ (FRP) was launched.

The event was joined by Pakistan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, and Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq via video link from Islamabad, while Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman represented Pakistan in Geneva.

Senator Sherry Rehman detailed the unimaginable scale of loss and damage caused by unprecedented climate-induced floods in Pakistan. She urged for a concerted financial response from the international community to over 7 million people “who are still looking for dry land” as the winter approaches.

She also called for a ‘coalition of the willing’ to effectively respond to this calamity. “To shelter, feed and resettle such large numbers is beyond the capacity, and resources of any one country. We will need a new coalition of the willing to fight climate disasters. If it can be done for wars, it can be done to save lives” the climate change minister said.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths in his remarks said, “People in Pakistan are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, where catastrophic flooding has taken a devasting toll on the most vulnerable. We are now in a race against time ahead of the winter season and funding is now urgently needed so humanitarians can prepare to respond to rising health, hunger and other debilitating needs.”

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that around 10% of health facilities had been damaged in the floods.

“The loss of over 1,500 people is tragic – however it is also remarkable that many more did not perish”, he said, adding that was due to “decisive early warning and immediate response actions undertaken by the Government and local communities.”

Salma Khan
Salma is a passionate writer, ardent reader and dedicated teacher. She writes on topics ranging from education to technology to business. She can be reached at Twitter and Facebook.

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