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Pakistan floods: UN chief denounces 'climate carnage'

September 10, 2022

UN chief Antonio Guterres blamed climate change for devastating flooding in Pakistan, which has left nearly 1,400 people dead. He said the country needs "massive financial support" to recover from the catastrophe.

Antonio Guterres and Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif arrive in Sindh province Saturday
Antonio Guterres was accompanied by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on his visit to hard-hit areasImage: Muhammad Daud/AFP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday toured some of the areas worst damaged by flooding in Pakistan.

Guterres, on his second day of a two-day visit to the country, visited Sukkur district in southern Sindh province and Osta Mohammad in southwestern Baluchistan province.

The UN chief also visited camps for displaced flood victims in Larkana district in Sindh as well.

Antonio Guterres talks to people displaced by flooding and living in makeshift camps
Antonio Guterres met with Pakistanis displaced by flooding and living in temporary campsImage: Pakistan Prime Minister Office/AFP

What did Guterres say on the visit?

Guterres said he had seen many humanitarian disasters in the world, but had never "seen climate carnage on this scale."

"I have simply no words to describe what I have seen today," Guterres told reporters in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and the capital of Sindh. 

He said Pakistan needed "massive financial support to overcome this crisis," adding that it was not a matter of "generosity, this is a matter of justice."

Guterres appealed for massive international support for the country shortly after arrival Friday, saying that he was in the South Asian nation to express his support with the Pakistani people and that initial estimates suggested losses of around $30 billion (€29.5 billion).

Guterres has previously repeatedly called attention to the effects of climate change and on Saturday said it was important to "stop the madness which we played with nature."

He said the UN would use its limited resources to help and request that "those who have the capacity to support Pakistan, do it now and do it massively."

Guterres' comments came after he was briefed by the chief minister of Singh province, Murad Ali Shah, on the destruction and challenges of the area.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and some of his Cabinet members also accompanied the UN's top official during his visit.

Pakistani PM: Parts of country 'like a sea'

Pakistan floods affect millions

With nearly 1,400 deaths and some 33 million affected, floods in Pakistan have massively disrupted life in the country.

Vast swaths of the country remain under water, with severe damage to property and farmlands adding to the challenge of coping with the devastation.

The UN has launched an appeal for $160 million (€158 million) in aid to help Pakistan, while the UAE and US are among countries that have provided the most aid so far.

rm/wd (Reuters, AFP, AP)