UN chief visits areas of Pakistan devastated by floods

AFP / Muhammad Daud

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday visited several areas of Pakistan ravaged by floods as he rounded off a two-day trip aimed at raising awareness of the disaster.

Record monsoon rains and glacier melt in northern mountains have triggered floods that have killed more than 1,391 people, sweeping away houses, roads, railway tracks, bridges, livestock and crops.

Huge areas of the country are inundated, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes. The government says the lives of nearly 33 million have been disrupted. Pakistan estimates the damage at $30 billion (AED 110 billion) and the government and Guterres have blamed the flooding on climate change.

The U.N. secretary-general landed in Sindh province on Saturday before flying over some of the worst-affected areas en route to Balochistan, another badly hit province.

"It is difficult not to feel deeply moved to hear such detailed descriptions of tragedy," Guterres said after landing in Sindh, according to a video released by the office of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

"Pakistan needs massive financial support. This is not a matter of generosity; it is a matter of justice."

A video released by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb showed Guterres seated next to Sharif, viewing flood-damaged areas from an aircraft window. "Unimaginable," Guterres said, surveying the damage.

In July and August, Pakistan got 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain or nearly 190 per cent more than the 30-year average. The southern province of Sindh has seen 466 per cent more rain than average.

Guterres said on Saturday the world needed to understand the impact of climate change on low-income countries.

"Humanity has been waging war on nature, and nature strikes back," he said.

"Nature strikes back in Sindh, but it was not Sindh that has made the emissions of greenhouse gases that have accelerated climate change so dramatically," Guterres said. "There is a very unfair situation relative to the level of destruction."

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • The Night Shift with Mark Lloyd

    8:00pm - 11:00pm

    Musicians and music, entertainers and entertainment, industry gossip and songs selected by you, get ready to bring your night time to life! Every evening from eight, Mark Lloyd brings you an energetic mix of local and international content and contests, featuring an array of celebrity interviews and entertaining anecdotes. Get involved in the show and pick your favourite jukebox hits, every night from 8pm - 11pm.

  • Nights on Dubai Eye 103.8

    11:00pm - 6:00am

    Dubai Eye complements the conversation with the music you love from the eighties, nineties and newer.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Flying Taxis

    It sounds like an episode of The Jetsons, but the sight of flying taxis whizzing around our cities could be much closer than you think.

  • Tough penalties for deliberate tax evasion

    The UAE has said that tougher penalties will come into force from 1st August for not keeping proper corporate tax records.