A sigh of relief as Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday Pakistan had raised a total of $8.57 billion so far for helping in flood recovery from last year’s calamitous floods at a conference in Geneva.
The floods, blamed on climate change, dealt a severe blow to Pakistan’s strained economy while displacing some 8 million people and killing at least 1,700. Rebuilding efforts are now estimated to cost more than $16 billion.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is co-hosting the conference along with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to raise aid for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-hit areas in the country.
Taking to Twitter, Marriyum penned that “the floods, blamed on climate change, dealt a severe blow to Pakistan’s strained economy while displacing some 8 million people and killing at least 1,700. Rebuilding efforts are now estimated to cost more than $16 billion.”
Addressing the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva, the premier said that Pakistan will need $16.3 billion for the rehabilitation of the people in the flood-affected areas and a framework has been prepared for the purpose.
PM Shehbaz Sharif said the world was standing at a “turning point of history” and “it’s not only a question of how to survive but its a question [of] how to maintain our bodies. It’s a question of how to maintain our dignity and honor by moving forward with a sense of purpose and a sense of achievement.” He said Pakistan witnessed a “monsoon on steroids this year” that affected 30 million people, displaced more than eight million people and washed away roads spread over 8,000 kilometres.
“One can go on and on but to truly say, we are racing against time. We are thankful for the support extended to us by the Asian Development Bank, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and several other international organizations.” Apart from the aid Pakistan received for flood rehabilitation, he said, the state “responded courageously” to the disaster. “They saved thousands of lives and quickly restored disrupted communications […] resilience funds were repurposed to provide cash grants of more than $400m to more than 2.7 million households.
The premier said his government had prepared a comprehensive plan for recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and resilience – the 4RF plan. “The first part of the plan reflects the recovery and reconstruction, bearing in mind that the minimum funding required is $16.3 billion, half of which will be met with domestic resources, half from foreign resources.” He explained that the second part of the plan incorporated flood-resilient design and infrastructure, such as protecting highways and early warning systems, on which $8b would be required over the span of three years.
On the other hand, Addressing a joint press stakeout with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the prime minister expressed confidence that they would be able to generate close to about $8 billion dollars domestically and also looking towards the international community to contribute with an equal amount to support these measures.
He said in today’s “Resilient Pakistan” conference, they, in consultations with friendly countries and global partners, had worked out a comprehensive framework for Pakistan’s resilient recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts with a robust financial mechanism.
Elaborating on the large-scale devastation caused by the floods, the prime minister said it had crippled Pakistan’s economy and they with meager resources could not cope with such a gigantic challenge.
The prime minister said that he had never witnessed such destruction in his lifetime. About 33 million people were displaced, with 2 million houses completely or impartially destroyed. The country’s economy suffered to the tune of $30 billion.
The prime minister thanked the UN, UNDP, World Bank and other financial institutions and friendly countries for their support and assistance to the flood victims.
The prime minister informed that the government of Pakistan had already spent $400 million to provide support to about 2.7 million households whereas another amount of $575 million was spent in cash and kind which was contributed by friends and countries across the globe.
He said they were now going for reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure and to put back 33 million people affected by floods on their feet which was an unprecedented contemporary task.
The prime minister said that Islamic Development Bank had pleaded $4.2 billion which was the largest contribution.
He further assured that every penny contributed for the purpose would be spent in a transparent manner and they would be accounted for the amount as he had resolved for holding of a third party’s validation of these contributions.
The prime minister also thanked the UNSG for inspiring millions of people across the globe to support Pakistan in these hard times and offered gratitude to all friendly countries, the Presidents of France and Turkiye, the financial institutions, partners, and representatives for expressing solidarity with Pakistan during the conference.
To a query, the prime minister said that even before the floods, Pakistan faced numerous economic issues.
Due to serious tensions in Eastern Europe, rising food inflation and skyrocketing of the oil prices worsened Pakistan’s imported inflation, impacting the lives of the common man in the country, he added.__The Nation