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Today's Paper | January 31, 2023

Updated 20 Dec, 2022 09:32am

20m flood-hit people dependent on humanitarian aid: Sherry

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Monday said 20 million people affected by the recent catastrophic floods were currently dependent on humanitarian aid, while flash appeals by the United Nations have received only 30 per cent of the $816 million pledged by the international community.

“When a country has people living on relief and multilateral assistance on the shores of vulnerability, with new lakes being created by climate events, it is not easy to plan for resilient recovery, because building back for complex climate polycrises implies transformational re-sets.

“These floods caused ‘Loss and Damage’ worth $30 billion, so just the rehabilitation and disaster-reconstruction needs are at least $16.3bn. This amount does not include investments required to support Pakistan’s adaptation to climate change and overall resilience of the country to future climate shocks,” the minister said in a statement.

The UN has warned that 8.4- 9.1 million people will be pushed below the poverty line, she added.

Senator Rehman said winter will be harsh on the forgotten arc of climate misery here, adding that the numbers are too huge that around 33m impacted literally meant “we were reinventing the lives of populations covering the size of three medium-sized European countries at the same time”.

“Today, after months of humanitarian operations, 14.6m is the number of people who still need emergency food assistance from December 2022 to March 2023. We should not forget that almost 3.9m people in Sindh and 1.6m in Balochistan are facing severe food insecurity, with 5.5m people no longer having access to safe and clean drinking water,” Ms Rehman said.

The minister warned that children are at the frontline of the flood aftermath, with 9.6m in urgent need of humanitarian assistance out of the total 20m affected. “With the onset of winter and temperatures dropping to single digits, the survival of children in camps is at stake.”

She urged all local philanthropists and international agencies to assist the provincial governments in sharing this unprecedented burden with Pakistan, and it is estimated that 1.6m children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and 7m are in desperate need of nutrition services.

She said that over half a million children are expected to go unvaccinated in areas devastated by floods, which will be disastrous for Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio.

The future of these children is also in peril as more than 2m have been forced to stay out of school due to damages caused to more than 34,000 schools, with education for girls among the most impacted.

Amin Ahmed adds: UNHCR, the UN agency for refugees, on Monday announced that one of the world’s leading beauty company had donated one million euros to provide emergency support for the flood-affected communities in Pakistan as well as help rebuild infrastructures such as schools, hospitals and shelters.

The donation from L’Oreal Group will contribute to UNHCR’s response to about 8.5 million people in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa grappling with the devastating effects of recent floods. The key activities include handing over of emergency relief items such as blankets, shelters, mosquito nets and solar-powered lanterns, UNHCR said in a press release.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2022

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