On the final day of a two-day trip to raise awareness of the disaster, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited several flood-ravaged areas in Pakistan.
Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains and glacier melt in the northern mountains have killed over 1,391 people and destroyed homes, roads, railway tracks, bridges, livestock, and crops.
Huge areas of the country have been inundated, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. According to the government, nearly 33 million people’s lives have been disrupted. The damage in Pakistan is estimated to be $30 billion, and both the government and Guterres have blamed the flooding on climate change.
The UN Secretary-General arrived in Sindh province on Saturday before flying over some of the worst-affected areas on his way to Balochistan, another badly affected 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.”
Guterres was seated next to Sharif in a video released by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, looking out the window of an aircraft at flood-damaged areas. “Unimaginable,” Guterres said as he looked around at the devastation.
In July and August, Pakistan received 391 mm (15.4 inches) of rain, nearly 190% more than the 30-year average. The southern province of Sindh has received 466% more rain than usual.
Guterres stated on Saturday that the world needs 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.”