WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: As aid and assistance from foreign countries continued to pour into Pakistan in the wake of flood devastation, Google on Monday launched an international appeal to collect relief funds.

The most used search engine in the world launched the appeal, asking its billions of users across the globe to donate $15, $25 and $50 each.

The appeal included a link to a report by the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and Human Rights Watch, endorsing the need for immediate financial and material support to the country.

The CDP report noted that the floods have affected all four provinces and approximately 15pc the population. The HRW report said “the floods show the need for climate action”.

Austria announces $2m to support victims; Chinese envoy distributes relief goods in Dera Bugti

“Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It faces rates of warming considerably above the global average and likely more frequent and intense extreme climate events,” the report added.

Austria announces aid

The Austrian foreign ministry’s relief fund for disasters has announced two million euros in emergency support for the flood victims.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schal­lenberg said that the allocated funds would be disbursed under “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” created jointly by the UN and Government of Pakistan in August.

The support included life-saving measures in areas of food security, emergency agricultural aid, accommodation, medical first aid, protection for vulnerable population groups, water and hygiene, women’s health, and educational support.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said his government was supporting the humanitarian efforts and this support was in line with the country’s tradition of providing aid on the ground. The provided funds will go to the international aid organisations that are currently working to ease the suffering of those who are affected.

Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said in his statement that the flood in Pakistan is another extreme weather event that demonstrates the rapidly accelerating effects of the climate crisis.

Chinese envoy distribute aid

In a separate development, Chinese Ambassa­dor to Pakistan Nong Rong on Monday distributed relief goods among the people displaced by floods in Dera Bugti.

Accompanied by Federal Minister for Narcotics Control, Shahzain Bugti, Mr Rong handed over 3,000 bags of relief goods donated by the Chinese government.

The ambassador said China was a time-tested friend of Pakistan and both countries have always helped each other in times of difficulties. He said the Chinese government and people can never forget the help extended by Pakistan during the 2008 earthquake in China.

At the moment, Pakistani people were facing the worst flood that has caused massive destruction, he said, adding that Chinese people were aware of the pain and difficulties faced by their ‘Pakistani brothers and sisters’ and were standing by them.

Partnership for resilience building

Meanwhile, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have formalised a partnership to promote resilience building in the wake of climate change.

At the ceremony to sign the memorandum of understanding at Escap headquarters in Bangkok on Monday, the heads of the both organisations said the ongoing floods in Pakistan demonstrated the need for “all-hands-on-the-deck” to be prepared for the uncertainty and damage from the impact of climate change”.

“It is time to capitalise on the untapped potential of regional and sub-regional cooperation to address the region’s shared vulnerabilities and risks,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of Escap.

This combination is very powerful to address the global challenges we face — especially the sharp increase in climate-related disasters that can only be solved together,” affirmed Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“When we join forces, we are more powerful than when we work alone. Together we combine the strength of governments with our global humanitarian network which includes our expertise, data, tools, knowledge, and human resources.”

Saleem Shahid in Quetta also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2022

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