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UN Chief Reiterates Need For 'Massive' Financial Aid During Visit To Flood-Devastated Sindh Province


UN chief Antonio Guterres attends a press conference in Islamabad with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has traveled to Pakistan's southeastern Sindh Province, the region hardest-hit by devastating and deadly flooding in the country, where he reiterated his calls for the international to provide "massive" financial and humanitarian assistance.

"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 Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who accompanied Guterres.

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

Guterres later flew over the southwestern province of Balochistan, another badly hit province.

On September 9, the first day of the UN secretary-general's two day visit, Guterres said that Pakistan was a victim of humanity's "war on nature" and was feeling the brunt of other countries' overwhelming responsibility for climate change.

“Pakistan has not contributed in a meaningful way to climate change. The level of emissions in this country is relatively low," he said while seated alongside Sharif in Islamabad. Other countries that "are more responsible for climate change...should have faced this challenge.”

The floods, caused by two months of record monsoon rains, have killed at least 1,391 people and affected 33 million more. Guterres has said that by some estimates, Pakistan needs about $30 billion to recover. The UN last week launched an emergency global appeal to raise $161 million to fund the immediate response to the catastrophe.

Many towns and cities in Sindh Province are inundated as emergency workers try to bolster dikes and erect makeshift barriers to ease the impact of the flooding.

The World Health Organization has warned the widespread risk of disease due to the disruption of Pakistan's health system from the flooding.

In July and August, Pakistan received 391 millimeters of rain, nearly 190 percent more than the 30-year average. The southern province of Sindh has seen 466 percent more rain than average.

"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."

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

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