Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Pakistan’s foreign minister repeated calls for compensation for the unprecedented destruction caused to the country by this summer’s flooding, saying debt relief could be a mechanism for doing so.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Wednesday at the U.N. climate summit in Egypt that the world is unequipped to deal with weather-related disasters of this scale and urged countries to find ways to address the issue.
“There’s no pot of gold sitting anywhere or no financial international mechanism really available to deal with the tragedy of this scale,” he said.
His comment comes as Pakistan races against time to arrange tents, food, and other supplies for the flood victims ahead of winter just weeks away. Climate-induced flooding killed 1,739 people, displaced hundreds of thousands, and caused around $40 billion in damages, according to the World Bank.
“Many months on from the initial flooding and rainfall, there are still many areas that are underwater,” said Bhutto-Zardari, adding that the World Health Organization warned that the country faces a health crisis because of waterborne diseases.
Experts say Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4 percent of the world’s historic emissions that are blamed for climate change. The U.S. is responsible for 21.5 percent, China for 16.5 percent, and the European Union for 15 percent.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited flood-hit areas in Pakistan in September, assuring Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif his maximum support in highlighting the ordeal of flood victims. Sharif this week also attended the climate change conference in Egypt and sought help in tackling the flood damage.
So far, China and Washington have been the largest contributors in response to the floods in Pakistan, although several other countries also sent planeloads of aid, many flood victims in Pakistan say they were still without any help or they received too little aid from the government or aid agencies.