ISLAMABAD (HPD) — The United Nations on Wednesday called on the world to speed up its response to help 33 million people affected by flooding in Pakistan, saying just 20% of its fundraising goals have been reached since its launch. In the past week.
Monsoon downpours made worse by climate change battered the country for months, killing at least 1,700 people and destroying infrastructure. Last week, the UN revised its aid request from $160 million to $816 million to reflect the magnitude of the disaster.
UN officials are concerned about health, nutrition, clean water, shelter and food security for the vast sections of the population that have lost their crops, homes and livestock.
UN humanitarian coordinator Julien Harneis said pledges of more than $180 million have been received, but only $90 million has been confirmed with the UN.
Harneis said the world body was responding with what it has, but that is not enough and the world must speed up its response. The disaster displaced 7.9 million people and half a million of them are still living in tents and makeshift housing.
Pakistani Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman told a news conference Wednesday that the country has become the world’s biggest climate catastrophe.
Rehman said 1,717 people were killed in the floods and more than 12,000 were injured.
“Pakistan alone cannot accomplish the task of rehabilitating the affected population, it needs huge resources and quick action,” he said. “The World Bank estimates the losses at $40 billion, but more may be required.”
According to the UN, the Pakistani government says the floods have destroyed at least 1.62 million hectares (4 million acres) of arable land and, with large areas still submerged, no new crops can be grown. The growing season is very short, from October to December, and farmers will need seeds and fertilizers.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai visited Dadu district in Sindh province on Wednesday. She there she met with women and children in a camp and spoke with them about the courage needed to face the difficult situation.
She arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday, her second visit to the country since she was shot by Muslim extremists in the northern city of Mingora for her activism for girls’ education.