Pakistan floods: Sharif seeks USD 8 billion assistance from int'l community at Geneva

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Islamabad/Geneva: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif  Monday sought USD 8 billion in assistance from the international community over the next three years to bridge the funding needs for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas hit by last year’s disastrous floods that killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million people.

Prime Minister Sharif while addressing the opening session of the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ in Geneva, which he co-hosted with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that the country would need a minimum of USD 16.3 billion, half of which is expected to be met by foreign help.

The conference aims to raise funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-hit Pakistan in a climate-resilient manner.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Public Policy and Strategic Communication Fahd Husain quoted the UN chief as saying that approximately USD 7.2 billion had been raised at the Geneva conference.

“The first part of the plan reflects the recovery and reconstruction, bearing in mind that the minimum funding of USD 16.3 billion is required, half of which will be met with domestic resources, half from foreign resources,” Sharif said in his remarks.

Pakistan estimated that about USD 30 billion were needed to come out of the deadly impact of the floods which was the worst in the last three decades.

Sharif said Pakistan witnessed a “monsoon on steroids this year” that affected 30 million people, displaced more than eight million and washed away roads spread over 8,000 kilometers but the government responded quickly and the help of the world community restored the communication system while delivering cash and food to affected families.

“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, UN, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and several other international organisations,” he said.

He said that the government had prepared a comprehensive plan for recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and resilience — the 4RF plan.

“This conference today is not just about helping to rebuild lives, but in fact, it is about the solidarity and vision needed to ensure a future not just on paper but in schools and homes,” he said.

On his part, Guterres urged the international community for “massive investments” to help Pakistan recover from the devastating floods.

“No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan,” the secretary general said, revealing that 9 million people had been pushed to the brink of poverty. He also praised the people of Pakistan for coming out and helping the people hit by the floods while stressing that rebuilding the country in a resilient way would need USD 16 billion.   (PTI)

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