Flood disaster far too big for any developing country to handle alone: Pakistani FM

08:33, August 20, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the foreign minister of Pakistan, on Thursday called on the international community to provide additional support to Pakistanis as his country is facing massive floods and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly's plenary session on the humanitarian situation in Pakistan, Qureshi said that his country is already experiencing strain fighting terrorism, making it even more difficult to deal with the still worsening flood crisis.

"We are the people that the international community looks towards, as a bulwark against terrorism and extremism," Qureshi said. "This is the nation that now looks towards the international community to show a similar determination and humanity in its hour of need."

Qureshi called the size of the challenge Pakistan is facing " colossal" and "far too big for any developing country to handle alone."

The flooding that began in Pakistan earlier in August has submerged 20 percent of the country in water, and the UN estimates that it has impacted around 54 million individuals, and left eight million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Qureshi told the General Assembly that one in ten Pakistanis has been rendered destitute by the emergency, and flooding is not even over yet.

"The situation is expected to get worse as the second and third waves of floods inundate more lands, and uproot more people," he said.

Qureshi also said that although Pakistan wishes to focus on providing food, clean water, and health to its people in the short term, long-term challenges are likely to be quite daunting too.

"Our difficulties do not end here," he said. "Our urban infrastructure will come under severe stress as millions of people migrate to bigger cities in search of shelter and jobs. Another serious problem, with long-term socio-economic implications, is the loss of land and potential decline in the arability of flood- affected lands."

Loss of agricultural capacity is very problematic because, as Qureshi noted, 70 percent of Pakistanis work in the agricultural sector.

To help with the relief efforts, the UN has launched an appeal for 459.7 million U.S. dollars. So far 239 million U.S. dollars has been received, not including bilateral donations given directly to Pakistan.

Qureshi thanked the UN and the international community for their efforts, but said that more help is needed.

"I wish to go back to Islamabad with a clear message for the people of Pakistan that they are not alone in this hour of trial; and that the international community stands ready to support and assist them," he said.

Source: Xinhua


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Staff members watch a screen showing the blast-off of the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Sept. 29, 2011. Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced Thursday night that the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module was successful. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
  • Chinese President Hu Jintao watches the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2011. Other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and Zhou Yongkang, are also present. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
  • The graphics shows the launch procedures of the carrier rocket of Tiangong-1 space lab module, Long March-2FT1 on Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Lu Zhe)
  • Image taken from Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows a Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasting off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua)
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
Hot Forum Discussion