Sharif warns UN: ‘What happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan’

He told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday to come together and “act now” before it is too late.

“One thing is very clear, what happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” Sharif told world leaders.

“For 40 days and 40 nights, a biblical flood fell, shattering centuries of meteorological records, challenging everything we knew about disaster and how to manage it,” Sharif said.

He then detailed first-hand the scale and magnitude of the devastation facing his country, where floods caused by record monsoon rains and melting glaciers have killed more than 1,600 people since June.

Sharif said parts of the country were “still underwater, submerged in an ocean of human suffering”.

Flood victims line up to receive food aid in Dera Allah Yar town of Jaffarabad district in Balochistan province on September 17, 2022.

“At this ground zero of climate change, 33 million people, including women and children, are now at high risk of health risks,” he said.

Authorities have warned it could take up to six months for floodwaters to recede in the worst-hit areas of the country, as fears grow about the threat posed by water-borne diseases such as cholera and dengue. .
The deluge has left 3.4 million children in need of “immediate, life-saving support”, according to UNICEF, leaving them vulnerable to water-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.

“The undeniable and inconvenient truth is that this disaster was not caused by anything we have done,” he said.

Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of the world’s global warming gases, according to European Union data, yet it is the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis, according to the Global Climate Risk Index.

Fears for babies born in Pakistan's devastating floods

It pays a heavy price, not only in lives but also in destroyed schools, homes and bridges.

Sharif said life in Pakistan had changed forever and feared the country would be “left high and dry alone to deal with a crisis we did not create”.

He explained that it was “perfectly reasonable” to expect some approach to justice for this loss and damage, warning that “clearly the time for talk of action has passed.”

The country’s National Disaster Management Authority says that of the 1,606 deaths recorded so far, 579 are children.

Sharif told the UN that in addition to the lives lost, one million homes have been destroyed and another million damaged. He also said that more than one million farm animals have been killed and four million hectares of crops have been washed away.

Experts criticize it

He said he was “fully committed” to rebuilding Pakistan, but warned other countries to focus on the future, which includes combating climate change.

“It is time to take a break from the concerns of the 20th century to return to the challenges of the 21st century,” Sharif said.

“The entire definition of national security has changed today. And if the world’s leaders don’t come together to act and act now on an agreed common agenda, there will be no earth left to fight. Nature will fight back. And that’s why, mankind is no match at all.’

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