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António Guterres appeals for ‘massive’ global support, tougher action on climate change

Publié le: lun. 12/09/2022, 02:57

UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Friday to show solidarity with the people of the country following the destruction caused by this year’s devastating floods.

Secretary-General António Guterres (left) and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of Pakistan hold a joint press conference. Pic: Un News

He appealed for massive international support to bolster the response and tackle this “climate catastrophe”.

Pakistan has been inundated with near continuous monsoon rainfall, flash flooding, and rain-induced landslides since mid-June, causing widespread devastation and casualties affecting millions of people across the South Asian country.

Upon his arrival, Mr. Guterres was briefed on the latest developments and the Pakistan-led response by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as well as other senior members of the Government.

His two-day visit to the country is not only about solidarity, as he stressed during his various meetings today, “it is [also] a matter of justice”.

“My heart goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones in this tragedy, and all those who have been affected by the loss of their homes, their businesses and their livelihoods” he told journalists in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, in a joint press conference alongside Minister of Foreign Affairs Zardari.

"A terrifying wall of water"

“[We] have all seen media images of the extraordinary destruction. I can only imagine the power and ferocity of the water as it bore down on villages, roads, bridges and everything else in its path. It was clearly terrifying – a wall of water.” Mr. Guterres said, adding: “No country deserves this fate, but particularly not countries like Pakistan that have done almost nothing to contribute to global warming.”

Indeed, the UN chief stressed that Pakistan and other developing countries – from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel – are paying a horrific price for the intransigence of big emitters that continue to bet on fossil fuels, in the face of science, common sense and basic human decency.

Even today, emissions are rising as people die in floods and famines. “This is insanity,” stated the Secretary-General. “This is collective suicide,” he added, calling for an end to the “war with nature” and urging more investment in renewable energy.

Message to the Pakistani people, and the world

Earlier in the day, Mr. Guterres met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and the two officials visited the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC), established by the Prime Minister on 1 September to synergize the national response to the ongoing floods.

At the Centre, Mr. Guterres, the Pakistan officials and other in attendance viewed a short video that vividly depicted the scale of devastation wrought by the floods have thus far. Some of the footage showed cars and buildings being swept away by the massive floods. The video also portrayed the heartbreaking situation of women, children and men that have been displaced.

Speaking directly to the Pakistan people from a podium set up at the Centre: the UN chief said: “I’ve always witnessed your enormous generosity receiving ... Afghan refugees, protecting and assisting them. I've seen your generosity, helping each other, helping family, helping communities... And so, I know what it means for the Pakistani people, this unprecedented natural disaster.”

He reassured the Pakistani people that “we will do everything possible to mobilize the international community to support your country and to support all of you in this dramatic situation, in which beyond the numbers, I see families that lost their loved ones, I see families that lost their houses I see families that lost their crops, that lost their jobs and that are living in desperate conditions.

The Secretary-General stressed that he had also seen “the enormous effort of response from civil servants, the Government, from the Army, from the NGOs, from the population in an extraordinary demonstration of solidarity within the borders of Pakistan.”

Source: UN News

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