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UN Chief Guterres to travel to flood-hit Pakistan on solidarity visit

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. [File Photo]

UN chief Antonio Guterres will travel to Pakistan next week for a solidarity visit as unprecedented floods have resulted in more than 1,000 deaths and displaced 33 million people in the country.

A USD 160 million emergency plan has been launched to help the cash-starved nation to deal with the crisis.

Quoting a statement by the UN, reports said that Secretary-General Guterres will travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit given the “tragic situation facing millions of men, women, and children impacted by historic floods.”

The Secretary-General is expected to arrive in Islamabad on September 9 and will then travel to the areas most impacted by the unprecedented climate catastrophe.

Guterres will meet with displaced families and will also witness how the UN is working, in collaboration with its humanitarian partners, to support the government’s relief efforts and provide assistance to millions of people. Guterres is expected back in New York on September 11.

In a video message on the flash appeal in support of the Pakistan Flood Response Plan, Guterres said the country is “awash in suffering.”

Pertinently, tens of millions of people across swathes of Pakistan are battling the worst monsoon floods in a decade, with countless homes washed away, vital farmland destroyed, and the country´s main river threatening to burst its banks.

Climate Change Minister of Pakistan Sherry Rehman also briefed the media that a third of the country was under water, creating a “crisis of unimaginable proportions”.

Pakistan media quoting officials earlier reported that 1,136 people have died since June when the seasonal rains began, but the final toll could be higher as hundreds of villages in the mountainous north have been cut off after flood-swollen rivers washed away roads and bridges.

This year’s flooding has affected more than 33 million people- one in seven Pakistanis- said the National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan.

This year’s floods are comparable to those of 2010- the worst on record- when more than 2,000 people died in the country.

Flood victims have taken refuge in makeshift camps that have sprung up across the country, where desperation is setting in.

 

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