ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday expressed his gratitude to the United States President Joe Biden for highlighting the need for urgent action in the wake of massive floods in Pakistan.
”Thank you President Joe Biden for highlighting the plight of the flood victims in Pakistan and urging the world for an immediate response, as my country is facing the ravages of unprecedented floods,” he tweeted.
The prime minister stressed that the calls of stranded women and children for help need to be heeded at international level.
In another tweet, he said, on the second day of UN General Assembly, his discussions with top officials of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank focused on making resources available within the country’s existing programmes for post-flood reconstruction.
“In my other meetings with world leaders, we discussed floods, climate change and rehabilitation of flood victims,” he said.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the “empathy and compassion” of United Nations special envoy Angelina Jolie, who is currently on a visit to Pakistan in solidarity with the flood-affected people.
“Pakistan thanks Angelina Jolie, a special UN envoy, and other unsung heroes for becoming the voice of millions of people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by raging floodwater,” he said in a tweet.
The prime minister said, “We will forever remember their empathy and compassion for suffering humanity.”
Hollywood star and humanitarian Angelina Jolie has said the flood disaster in Pakistan should be a “wake-up call” for the world regarding climate change, calling for more international aid after meeting with victims.
Pakistan has been lashed by unprecedented monsoon downpours that flooded a third of the country - an area the size of the United Kingdom - and killed nearly 1,600 people, according to the latest government figures.
More than seven million people have been displaced, many living in makeshift tents without protection from mosquitoes, and often with little access to clean drinking water or washing facilities.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Jolie, who previously visited Pakistan to meet the victims of the devastating 2010 floods and a deadly 2005 earthquake, in footage released on Thursday.
“I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more... I think this is a real wake-up call to the world about where we are at,” she told a meeting of civil and military officials in the capital Islamabad.
“Climate change is not only real and it’s not only coming, it’s very much here.”
Jolie, who represents the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), visited southern Sindh province, one of the worst-affected areas, where she met with displaced flood victims living in camps.
The United Nations has warned of a “second disaster” from diseases such as dengue, malaria, cholera and diarrhoea, as well as from malnutrition.
“I have been speaking to people and thinking that if enough aid doesn’t come, they won’t be here in the next few weeks, they won’t make it,” said Jolie.
Scientists have linked the record-breaking monsoon rains to climate change.