The United Nations and Pakistan have jointly launched a fresh flash appeal seeking more than USD 800 million for the rehabilitation of millions of Pakistanis affected by the devastating floods that have so far claimed the lives of over 1,700 people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.
Under the new appeal by the UN launched during a ceremony in Geneva on Monday, the global body revised up its humanitarian appeal for Pakistan five-fold to USD 816 million from USD 160 million as it seeks to control a surge in water-borne diseases reported from various parts of the country still reeling under the floods.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman stressed the need for urgent medical assistance and timely efforts to save flood victims of Pakistan from the effects of cold weather soon approaching, the foreign ministry said.
"The flood affected in Pakistan is facing the real race against time as winter is coming," the minister said, adding that despite shelters made available for 598,000 people, up to 7.5 million affected population was still scrambling for dry land.
The devastating floods have so far affected 33 million people across the country, claimed over 1,700 lives and destroyed large farms, resulting in a crisis type situation due to shortage of essentials.
Rehman said that four million people are living in areas where temperatures reach zero and even in warm areas, the mercury drops below 10 degrees Celsius.
She also said that historic rains caused floods that inundated more than one-third of Pakistan.
Rehman informed the gathering that 34 districts are still crisis affected even after 16 weeks where many victims were still seeking land hubs for clean water, food and medical assistance and even dry lands in Sindh to bury their dead.
Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said the people of Pakistan were bearing the brunt of the world's inaction to face climate change or prepare for its consequences, a report by Radio Pakistan said.
“Pakistan has not caused this crisis for which they are undeserving victims…we need to deliver shelter and essential household items to over two million families,” he said, emphasising standing with Pakistan at this difficult hour.
Dr Tedros Adhanom, the chief of World Health Organisation, gave an update on the health situation in the flood affected areas.
He said floods have approximately damaged 10 per cent of the country's health facilities.
"Besides, stocks of medicines and medical supplies are limited or have been washed away. We must move together to support Pakistan,” he said.
Earlier, in its first flash appeal last month the world body sought USD 160 million for emergency relief operations. However, since then the situation has turned more serious with a rise in the cases of water borne and vector borne diseases.
(With PTI inputs)