Pakistani PM reports global pledges of $9.7B in flood aid

Jan 10, 2023, 1:33 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 3:44 am
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, talks to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Shar...

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, talks to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif, right, during the International Conference on Climate-Resilient Pakistan, at the European headquarters of the United Nation, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

(Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

              Víctimas de inundaciones provocadas por las lluvias monzónicas usan una balsa improvisada con el fin de transportar paja para el ganado, el 5 de septiembre de 2022, en Jaffarabad, un distrito de la provincia de Baluchistán, en el suroeste de Pakistán. (AP Foto/Fareed Khan)
            
              U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, talks to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif, right, during the International Conference on Climate-Resilient Pakistan, at the European headquarters of the United Nation, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
            In this photo released by Press Information Department, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif speaks during press conference, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Sharif thanked the international institutions for pledging $9.7 billion at a recently held aid conference in Geneva to help Pakistan launch the much-awaited reconstruction in those areas affected by last summer's catastrophic flood that killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million. (Pakistan Press Information Dept. via AP) 
              U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the International Conference on Climate-Resilient Pakistan, at the European headquarters of the United Nation, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister said Wednesday that several countries and some of the world’s institutions have pledged $9.7 billion to help his country rebuild from the summer’s catastrophic flood that killed 1,739 people.

Premier Shahbaz Sharif said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres fought for the flood victims “like a Pakistani” during a recent fundraising conference in Geneva.

At a news conference in Islamabad, Sharif pledged transparency when the money is spent, and added that the government would try to prevent a repeat of last summer’s deluge. At one point, one-third of the impoverished country was under water, a “doomsday before the doomsday” of Earth’s changing climate.

The floods destroyed more than 2 million homes and caused more than $30 billion in damage. Previously, Pakistan said that it needed $16.3 billion for reconstruction and that the country would cover almost half of that amount. For the rest, the country sought donations.

Sharif said the response to Pakistan’s appeal in Geneva was beyond his expectation. He said the Saudi government has indicated that it will invest $10 billion in Pakistan apart from depositing $2 billion with the country’s central bank, a move that experts say would boost Pakistan’s fragile economy.

Sharif said he will also travel to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday on a two-day official visit.

However, such U.N. pledging conferences often draw promises of big sums from governments, international organizations and other donors, but the pledges aren’t always fulfilled.

Pakistani authorities say thousands of flood victims are still living in open areas.

Pakistan plays a negligible role in global warming and emits less than 1% of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. But like other developing countries, it has been vulnerable to climate-induced damage, experts say.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

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Pakistani PM reports global pledges of $9.7B in flood aid