EU preparing ‘new aid package’ for flood victims

In meeting with PM, EC chief Ursula von der Leyen expresses sorrow over flood losses


AGENCIES September 22, 2022
President of the European Union (EU) Commission Ursula von der Leyen met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. PHOTO: EXPRESS

NEW YORK:

The head of the European Commission said on Thursday the continental bloc would “come forward with new humanitarian aid in the coming weeks” to support the people of Pakistan, currently reeling under the devastating floods.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Various matters of bilateral interest, including the ongoing floods, were discussed in the meeting.

During the meeting, von der Leyen expressed sorrow over the destruction and loss of life due to the unprecedented flooding in the country. She assured the prime minister of the commission’s support for Pakistan in these difficult times.

“The EU Commission is with you. We will come forward with new humanitarian aid in the coming weeks, to support the people of Pakistan,” the former German defence minister said in a tweet after the meeting with the prime minister.

Pakistan is undergoing unprecedented climate-induced floods that have affected more than 33 million people, killing nearly 1,600 people besides causing a staggering loss of over $40 billion in damages to homes and infrastructure.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said in tweets on Wednesday that he discussed two major issues with world leaders in the bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly – climate change and bilateral trade.

Several world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, mentioned the Pakistan floods in their addresses to the General Assembly and appealed to the international community for help.

In separate tweets on Thursday, Shehbaz expressed gratitude to President Biden for highlighting the need for urgent action in the wake of Pakistan floods and acknowledged the “empathy and compassion” of many international celebrities.

“Thank you President Joe Biden for highlighting the plight of the flood victims in Pakistan and urging the world for an immediate response, as my country is facing the ravages of unprecedented floods,” he posted on his Twitter handle.

The prime minister stressed that the calls of stranded women and children for help need to be heeded to at the international level. “In my other meetings with world leaders, we discussed floods, climate change and rehabilitation of flood victims,” he said.

In another tweet, Shehbaz acknowledged the “empathy and compassion” of United Nations Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, who is currently on a visit to Pakistan in solidarity with the flood-affected people.

“Pakistan thanks Angelina Jolie, a special UN envoy, and other unsung heroes for becoming the voice of millions of people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by raging floodwaters,” he said in his tweet.

“We will forever remember their empathy and compassion for suffering humanity,” he said, referring to the humanitarian efforts of Hollywood actress Jolie, renowned Islamic scholar Mufti Menk and Turkish actor Celal Al, who also visited the flood-affected areas of Pakistan.

On Wednesday, Shehbaz in his tweets thanked Secretary General Guterres and President Erdogan for forcefully highlighting the flood havoc in Pakistan and calling for immediate global action to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change.

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