WASHINGTON: Ambassador Masood Khan has alerted international community about the serious perils of erratic climate change that was threatening the nations across the globe.
“The recent flood and the massive devastation in Pakistan is an exhibit for the devastations of climate change. It is proof positive. This phenomenon is going to grow whether it is Pakistan or any other countries in South Asia or the world”, the Ambassador has said.
“Today it is Pakistan, tomorrow it would be another country”, cautioned the Ambassador.
The Ambassador said that though international media was extensively showing heart-wrenching visuals of the affected areas yet it has only captured “a fraction of the calamity what we are facing in Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s top envoy said that while it was a collective responsibility to reduce emissions, the international community must think of ways and means for compensation to those bearing the brunt of climate change despite making negligible contribution towards global warming.
“We should make quick transition from mitigation and adaptation to preparedness and resilience,” suggested the Ambassador.
The Ambassador was briefing American and international mediapersons about the flood situation in Pakistan at the National Press Club of Washington DC, the world’s renowned and prestigious forum.
Masood Khan shared harrowing details of the devastation caused by the flood that has submerged one third of the country. He informed the participants that over 1400 lives have been lost in Pakistan. More than 13,000 have been injured. A population of 33 million has been affected by flooding.
Around 6.6 million people needed immediate assistance. Nearly 800,000 farm cattle have perished. Crops have been destroyed in an area as big as 5.5 million acres that includes all sorts of crops including rice, wheat, corn and sugarcane. Over 7000 kilometers long roads have been washed away with 246 bridges destroyed.
“Just to give you a comparison, the area under waters in Pakistan right now, some 95000 square miles, is as big as the area of the state of Wyoming of the United States.
A large population comparable to the population of California has been affected”, the Ambassador said. He said that a satellite image released by European Space Agency showed a new lake on the Indus River which was 100 kilometer long and tens of kilometers wide. “This has created its own disaster within a mega disaster”, he continued.
The Ambassador pointed out that Pakistan could not have prepared for such kind of “apocalyptic floods” which, he said, has destroyed lives, livelihoods, schools and hospitals. “Everything has been washed away.”
He said that as large as 5.5 million acres of cropland has been destroyed resulting in a looming food security crisis. “WFP and other international organizations must come forward and give necessary support to the people of Pakistan so that we can maintain our food security”, said the envoy.
The Ambassador thanked the US government, Congress, US philanthropic and charity organizations and most importantly Pak-American community for their generous contributions towards relief and rescue activities.
Reiterating his appeal for greater contributions, the Ambassador said that more resources would be required for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. “It’s a continuum and we can’t leave the affected populations alone after the rescue and relief operations are over”, said the Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States.
Responding to a question, the Ambassador that Pakistan’s nuclear assets and nuclear system was secure and there was no vulnerability whatsoever.