- Says it is responsibility of developed countries to stand by Pakistan
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said Pakistan should not be forced to go out with a “begging bowl” for flood relief aid to rich nations that are responsible for climate change, adding that it is "double jeopardy" and "unjust and unfair".
In an interview with The Guardian, the PM said that Pakistan was facing an unprecedented crisis of health, food security and internal displacement after the “apocalyptical” monsoon rainfall.
“I’ve never seen this kind of devastation, inundation and suffering of our people in my lifetime.
“Millions have been displaced, they have become climate refugees within their own country,” he said.
The PM went on to say that scientists have determined that the floods were due to climate breakdown, adding that with Pakistan being responsible for only 0.8% of global carbon emissions, it was the “responsibility of the developed countries, who caused these emissions, to stand by us”.
He said the aid from the international community was not enough, adding that the enormity of this climate-induced catastrophe is "beyond our fiscal means”.
“The gap between our needs and what is available is too wide and it is widening by the day.”
However, the PM said Pakistan was not blaming anybody, making it clear that he was talking about climate justice.
"We’re not casting allegations, what we are we saying is this is not of our making but we have become a victim. Should I be asked to cast my appeal into a begging bowl? That is double jeopardy. That’s unjust, unfair.”
More than nine million people have been displaced and over 2 million homes have been destroyed in the aftermath caused by heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers. More than 30,000km of roads have been destroyed along with bridges, railways and power lines, as well as 4m hectares of crops washed away.
The PM said that he was grateful for the support from world leaders, but their words and statements were not enough.
“While they are doing a very good job, and we appreciate it, this is not enough. They must come forward with a far better and a far bigger plan to rescue us and rehabilitate us and put us back on our footing.”
He pointed out the unfulfilled promise made by rich nations over a decade ago to commit $100bn a year in a climate fund for less developed nations.
“Where’s that money? It’s high time that we question and remind these countries to fulfil their commitments and pledges they have made.”
Earlier, in his address to the 77th United Nations General Assembly Session, the PM had urged the world to "do more to help Pakistan".
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has renewed the call for urgent debt relief and aid to help Pakistan meet the unprecedented challenges posed by climate-induced flooding, and said that the estimated damage from the floods may exceed $30 billion.
The UN recently revised up its humanitarian appeal for Pakistan five-fold, to $816 million from $160m. The UN and Pakistan launched the revised flash appeal of an urgent $816 million to swiftly respond to the needs of the people.
Earlier, the European Union said it would substantially scale up its financial assistance to Rs 6.7 billion (€30 million) while USAID announced it would extend an additional $20 million in humanitarian assistance.