Stop this madness: developing countries are paying the price for the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, the UN secretary-general denounced on Saturday, on the second day of his visit through Pakistan devastated by catastrophic floods.
Pakistan and other developing countries are paying a horrible price for the intransigence of large emitters, who continue to rely on fossil fuels, Antonio Guterres argued in a tweet, before visiting flooded areas in the South.
From Islamabad, I make a global appeal: stop this madness. Invest now in renewable energy. Stop the war on nature,he said.
Nearly 1,400 people have died since June in these floods. The floods, which have increased in intensity due to global warming, are caused by torrential monsoon rains and have covered a third of Pakistan an area the size of the United Kingdom – destroying homes, businesses, roads, bridges and agricultural crops.
Guterres hopes his visit will encourage the international community to provide financial support to the country, which estimates it needs at least $10 billion to repair and rebuild damaged or destroyed infrastructure. A sum impossible to collect alone for Pakistan, because of its high debt.
The monsoon, which usually lasts from June to September, is essential for irrigating plantations and replenishing the water resources of the Indian subcontinent. But Pakistan had not experienced such sustained rainfall for at least three decades.
Nature Strikes Back
For the UN Secretary General, financial aid is not a question of generosity, it is a question of justice.
Humanity has waged war on nature, and nature is fighting back but it is not Sindh that is causing the greenhouse gas emissions that have accelerated climate change so dramatically,” he said.
On Friday, Guterres had already expressed outrage at the world’s indifference, particularly that of the most industrialized countries, to climate change.
It’s madness, it’s a collective suicide,he had noted.
Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions (for 3% of the world’s population), but it ranks 8th among countries most threatened by extreme weather events, according to a study by the NGO Germanwatch.
This year, the country has already faced a heat wave that has sometimes exceeded 50°C, raging forest fires and devastating floods caused by rapidly melting glaciers.
Some 33 million people were affected by the floods, left homeless and unable to meet their basic needs Around 500 bridges collapsed.
Antonio Guterres is due to visit the thousand-year-old city of Mohenjo Daro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on Saturday, which is threatened by the floods.
If he comes to us, Allah will bless him, Rozina Solangi, a 30-year-old housewife living in a flooded village near Sukkur, told AFP on Friday.
All the children, men, women are roasting in this scorching heat. We have nothing to eat, no roof over our heads. He must do something for the poor,” she added.
Pakistan has received five times more rainfall this year than usual, according to the weather service. Padidan, a small town in Sindh province, has been covered by more than 1.8 meters of water since the monsoon began in June.
The bad weather has caused flash floods in rivers in the mountainous north, which washed away roads, bridges and buildings within minutes, and a slow build-up of water in the southern plains that has submerged hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land.
Hundreds of makeshift camps sprang up on the few remaining dry spaces in the south and west of the country. Elevated roads or railroads are often the last places where water has not crept in.
With people crowded together, along with their livestock, epidemics are to be feared. Many cases of dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes, and scabies have already been reported.