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UN escalates Pakistan aid request amid ‘second wave of death and destruction’

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An official announced on Monday that the United Nations has increased its humanitarian appeal for Pakistan from $160 million to $816 million in an effort to stop the spread of water-borne diseases following the country’s worst floods in decades.

Floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers have killed almost 1,700 people in a calamity that the government and the United Nations have attributed to climate change.

Julien Harneis, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan, stated at a Geneva briefing, “We are now entering a second wave of death and destruction.”

“There will be an increase in child mortality, and it will be quite horrific if we do not act quickly to assist the government in expanding the provision of health, nutrition, water, and sanitation services in the impacted areas,” he warned.

In the meantime, according to a news statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations will jointly launch an expanded emergency appeal on October 4 in Geneva.

Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman, Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will participate virtually from Islamabad.

The statement indicates that UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths and Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, along with UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan Julien Harneis, will represent the United Nations.

UN Member States and several UN agencies and humanitarian groups working in disaster relief will participate in the summit.

According to the ministry, the Floods Response Plan was developed in close consultation with the United Nations.

It focuses on providing aid to the most vulnerable people affected by the severe flooding. It compliments the government’s broader reaction to the recent floods in Pakistan caused by climate change, according to the press release.

The United Nations issued an emergency appeal for $160 million in flood disaster aid on August 30, but the amount was deemed insufficient in light of the extraordinary devastation.

As a result of the devastation caused by heavy rainfalls and flash floods, which affected over 33 million people, primarily in Sindh and Balochistan, the government estimates that the country’s economic growth rate will plummet to 2% during the current fiscal year, as opposed to the budgeted 5 percent.