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Pakistan

IMF to support Pakistan's flood relief, reconstruction efforts 'under current programme'

  • IMF Resident Representative to Pakistan says will work with others in the international community to support, under the current programme, the authorities’ relief and reconstruction efforts, while ensuring sustainable policies and macroeconomic stability
Published September 18, 2022
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed sympathy with the millions of Pakistan's flood victims, and said it will work with others in the international community to support, under the current programme, the authorities’ relief and reconstruction efforts.

In a message sent to the media on Sunday evening, Resident Representative to Pakistan, Esther Pérez Ruiz, said the IMF is deeply saddened by the devastating impact of the floods in Pakistan.

"Our sympathies go to the millions of victims of the floods," she said.

"We will work with others in the international community to support, under the current programme, the authorities’ relief and reconstruction efforts, and especially their ongoing endeavour to assist those affected by the floods while ensuring sustainable policies and macroeconomic stability."

Pakistan's unprecedented floods, which have submerged huge swathes of the South Asian nation, have killed more than 1,500 people, as authorities look to step up relief efforts for millions affected by the disaster.

The devastation comes as Pakistan remains in a IMF bailout programme, which was only revived after the lender's Executive Board approval late last month.

However, with massive destruction due to floods, many feel authorities will need to focus efforts on flood relief, while putting reforms promised with the IMF on the backseat.

The IMF's announcement also comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the alarm about a “second disaster” in the wake of deadly floods in Pakistan in the form of a new wave of diseases and deaths.

“I am deeply concerned about the potential for a second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of disease and death following this catastrophe, linked to climate change, that has severely impacted vital health systems leaving millions vulnerable,” WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Saturday.

“The water supply is disrupted, forcing people to drink unsafe water,” he said. “But if we act quickly to protect health and deliver essential health services, we can significantly reduce the impact of this impending crisis.”

The WHO official also warned health workers in Pakistan were stretched to the limit as they were doing all they can to deliver critical services amid the destruction.

"Nearly 2,000 health facilities have been fully or partially damaged,” he maintained.

On the other hand, waterborne diseases have broken out at a large scale across Pakistan as flood-hit areas are now facing not just the spread of malaria and dengue but also gastro, diarrhoea, and skin diseases owing to the stagnant rainwater.

As per information gathered by Business Recorder from other parts of the country, stagnant floodwaters have created an epidemic-like situation as waterborne diseases are rapidly increasing in flood-affected areas, especially among children. Two girls died of gastroenteritis in Sindh's Khairpur district, according to the Sindh Health Department, while many children are suffering from gastroenteritis and malaria.

Sindh provincial health authorities have said over 1.2 million flood-affected people have been affected by diseases across Sindh, and 12,027 people have been affected by respiratory, asthma and chest diseases in 24 hours.

According to the health department, the cases of gastrointestinal, and respiratory diseases, dengue, malaria, and diarrhoea are increasing.

Epidemic diseases are also increasing in flood-affected areas of Punjab, while respiratory diseases, fever, cholera, eye and rash diseases have increased manifold.

According to the report, 54,427 people are suffering from respiratory diseases, 42,283 people are affected by skin diseases, 24,446 people are suffering from cholera in the flood-affected areas of Punjab. Apart from this, 24,675 flood victims have been affected by fever and 3,039 people have been affected by eye diseases.

PM Shehbaz urges SCO to 'build a wall' against climate change

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to “build a wall” against climate change.

Addressing the SCO Council of Heads of State (CHS) meeting in Samarkand on Friday, the PM said flood devastation in Pakistan had displaced millions.

“It is a catastrophe of proportions unknown to the people of Pakistan and of course, the entire world,” the PM said.

“With your support, we will fight it out. These devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely induced by climate change," he remarked.

The floods brought by record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern mountains have hit 33 million of a population of 220 million, sweeping away homes, transport, crops and livestock in damage estimated at $30 billion.

Pakistan received 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain, or nearly 190% more than the 30-year average, in July and August. That figure climbed to 466% for one of the worst-affected areas, the southern province of Sindh.

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