A Pakistani official urges worldwide solidarity in combating illnesses and crises triggered by climate change

In Islamabad, Pakistan’s Prime Minister made a plea for global cooperation in addressing worldwide infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and crises stemming from the effects of climate change, following nearly 1 1/2 years since devastating floods claimed 1,700 lives in his country.

A two-day summit was attended by representatives from 70 nations, the World Health Organization, and various international bodies. This gathering occurred as reports revealed that millions of individuals, left homeless by the floods, were enduring their second harsh winter residing in tents.

The unprecedented 2022 flooding, commencing in mid-June of that year and partly attributed by experts to climate change, resulted in a third of Pakistan being submerged at one point.

During the meeting in Islamabad, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar emphasized that “no state in the world, regardless of its strength, can tackle such challenges” in isolation.

Kakar highlighted Pakistan as the eighth most vulnerable country affected by climate change. He underscored that while developed nations possess mechanisms to respond promptly to health crises, such systems are lacking in the developing world.

At an international conference in Geneva in January 2023, numerous countries and international institutions pledged over $9 billion to assist Pakistan in its recovery from the summer floods.

However, according to the UK-based Islamic Relief charity, progress has been sluggish, with only an estimated 5% of the damaged and destroyed homes fully rebuilt. Many rural flood survivors feel neglected, leading to a worsening mental health crisis in certain communities.

The charity noted that while the donor conference was viewed as a success, the majority of the pledged funds have yet to reach the affected populace. As a result, millions continue to reside in tents or basic shelters, lacking adequate livelihoods or essential services.

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