ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged the international community to help Pakistan in rehabilitation and reconstruction for millions of flood-affected people, and play a judicious role to improve the resilience and adaptability of the Pakistani nation.
The prime minister, in his message to the nation on National Resilience Day observed to commemorate the 2005 earthquake, said once again, Pakistan had been worst hit by a climate-induced disaster in the form of floods. As a result, 1696 precious lives have been lost, 12867 people sustained injuries and over 33 million people were affected.
The prime minister said October 8 was observed as National Resilience Day in the country to express solidarity with the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of Pakistan who suffered human and other losses due to disasters.
“The day is also a reminder that we live in a region marked as highly vulnerable to disasters. Pakistan is the 7th most disaster-vulnerable country in the Climate Risk Index,” he remarked.
Over the years, he said Pakistan had witnessed multiple natural disasters in the form of earthquakes, floods, GLOF events, cloud bursts, unprecedented rainfalls and severe heat waves, and forest fires which caused the loss of precious lives, not to mention the loss of millions of dollars.
He said the recent floods perished a million livestock, and damaged four million acres of crops besides causing widespread damage to communication infrastructure. Sindh and parts of Balochistan have been worst hit and Pakistan had never faced a disaster of this scale, he added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said the federal government along with provincial governments had mobilized all resources at its disposal including, financial, administrative and organizational for the rescue and relief of the affected people. He said on the request of provincial governments, Pakistan Army has been mobilized to help in the rescue, relief and other disaster-related activities.
Besides, Rs25,000 per household is being provided through Benazir Income Support Programme in addition to food, shelter and medical aid in calamity-hit areas, the prime minister said.
He said the people of Pakistan, civil society, philanthropists, humanitarian organizations, UN agencies, NGOs, INGOs, academia and disaster management authorities deserved an appreciation for their efforts in rescue and relief activities.
No country alone can deal with a disaster of such a massive scale, he added. The prime minister said realizing the scale of the calamity, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres paid a very timely visit to Pakistan, flood-affected areas and met the flood affectees.
Guterres appealed to the international community to help Pakistan. He said since Guterres’ visit, there had been a number of bilateral and multilateral visits by various delegates to assess the situation as well as express solidarity with Pakistan. The prime minister expressed gratitude to the international community, the UN and friendly countries for providing relief aid.
“However, since the scale of the catastrophe is very massive and water will take time to recede. Waterborne diseases, malnutrition and a looming winter pose challenges that would need substantial and sustained support from the Pakistani nation and Government, as well as the international community,” he added.
The prime minister reiterated that what Pakistan was currently going through in the form of the worst disaster was not of its own making but was a result of climate change induced by Global Greenhouse Gas emissions, to which Pakistan contributes less than 1%. Shehbaz Sharif said the people of Pakistan had faced disaster with courage and resilience.
“I want to assure my people as well as the international community that the government is doing and will continue to do its best to take care of flood-affected people by ensuring their timely rehabilitation, reconstruction and revival of the economy,” he remarked.
He said cognizant of Pakistan’s disaster vulnerability, climate change and its serious implications, the government was committed to the capacity enhancement of the disaster management system, undertaking necessary legislation on the subject, promotion of risk-sensitive governance, building resilient infrastructure and above all promotion of adaptation.
“Together we shall succeed,” he commented.