Friday Oct 07, 2022
In a bid to help Pakistan tackle the ongoing climate-induced catastrophe, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock Friday announced 10 million euros in flood-relief support.
The announcement came as Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari — who is on a two-day visit to Germany — and Baerbock addressed a press conference in Berlin.
The floods have impacted 33 million people out of a population of 220 million, and caused damage the government estimates at $30 billion as crops, roads, livestock, bridges, houses, schools, and medical facilities were washed away.
Expressing sympathy with the families that have suffered due to the devastating floods, the German foreign minister said Pakistan is the "most-affected country" by climate change.
Baerbock said the current devastation in Pakistan — which is among the lowest contributors of carbon emissions — is a reminder to the world about the dramatic consequences of climate change.
On bilateral relations, the German foreign minister said that Berlin intends to diversify its relation with Islamabad in economic spheres and is also looking forward to investing in Pakistan, particularly in infrastructural projects.
Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal called for translating the decades of goodwill and cooperation between Pakistan and Germany into a synergetic partnership for benefit of both countries.
Talking about recent floods, he said the climate catastrophe in Pakistan cannot be defined in words, as one-third of the country is underwater, and one in seven Pakistanis is affected.
The foreign minister said the floods have destroyed over a million houses and the country is also facing a looming food crisis due to it.
The EU announcement comes after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) earlier this week announced providing flood-relief support of $2.3-$2.5 billion.
Meanwhile, urging prompt international help at the UN launch of an aid appeal as funds needed by the country were ramped up five-fold, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said earlier this week that Pakistan is out of money to spend on recovery from devastating floods.
The United Nations revised up its humanitarian aid appeal for Pakistan five-fold to $816 million from $160 million, as a surge of water-borne diseases and fear of growing hunger pose new dangers after weeks of unprecedented flooding linked to climate warming.
The meeting was told that the UN has received only $90 million so far out of the $160-million previous appeal for aid.
"We have no space to give our economy a stimulus package, which would create jobs, and provide people with the sustainable incomes they need," Rehman told the conference in Geneva aimed at seeking aid for Pakistan.
Pakistan has already dispersed cash handouts worth $264 million to 2.47 million people affected by the disaster, she added.
The European Union (EU) scaled up its flood assistance to 30 million euros (6.7 billion Pakistani rupees), according to a statement after the EU commissioner for crises management, Janez Lenarčič, met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad.
Washington last Friday rolled over an agreement to suspend service payments on $132 million of Pakistan's debt, the US embassy in Islamabad said.
Islamabad also sought a rollover of $2 billion in Chinese deposits to its reserves, said a statement from Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's office after his meeting with Chinese envoy Nong Rong.