‘Pakistan needs resilience, rebuilding adaptation and funds’

Federal minister says the gap between existing and upcoming needs is 'huge'

New Desk September 29, 2022


Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman has said that large parts of Sindh are still inundated with flood waters and funds and resources are required to save the lives of the people and provide shelter to them.

“The flood waters are still standing in large parts of Sindh, where many parts of the land are below sea level, while funds and resources to save lives and provide shelter are still in short supply,” Rehman said and pointed out that immediate relief needs are swallowing up all available resources.

The federal minister said that despite development partners stepping in as well as the United Nations Secretary-General, who has made an impassioned appeal to assist Pakistan, the gap between existing and upcoming needs is huge.

“Just the huge dewatering needs to pump out entire mini-oceans cannot be met at this scale, at least with the current water engineering resources available. Nobody ever expected or planned for this much water to bomb down from the sky, nor have we ever seen this quantum of flooding in any part of Pakistan ever before,” the senator said.

Rehman said there was a clear deficit of funds and goods which was affecting every relief effort. “We have already repurposed all development and climate resilience funds towards relief, especially to frontload the Benazir Income Support Programme to ensure that Rs25,000 tranches are made available immediately to the affected families,” she explained.

“In addition to the UN system, given the scale and immediacy of the disaster, we urgently need more assistance from the international community for relief, as thousands are still in tents, while many still seek a cover over their heads,” she said and added that thousands are still seeking shelter, and we worry about people spending the entire winter this way.

The senator went on to say that Pakistan will need much more to service 33 million people affected. Pakistan’s economic system has sustained a huge exogenous shock. We need urgent buffers from a debt overhang that is squeezing out fiscal options to rebuild almost half the country, while we also need climate resilience funds that can be accessed with speed and scale.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2022.


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