Pakistan’s foreign minister has called for urgent international assistance, and the number of people who died as a result of historic floods in the country is expected to increase in the coming days.
The floodwaters that have already emerged from the economic crisis have flooded More than a third of the country is under water, killing more than 1,000 people and affecting 33 million people.
The country’s foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, told CNBC’s Dan Murphy on Thursday that he fears current estimates of damage from the natural disaster will exceed $10 billion, adding that the crisis in the country is still ongoing and is in the “rescue and relief phase.” ”
Bhutto Zardari told CNBC that the flooding is a “climate disaster of biblical proportions.” It covers an area of more than 95,000 square miles. Bhutto Zardari said the crisis was far from over as “southern areas of Pakistan are still bracing for floods from rivers coming from the north”.
“Pakistan is currently paying with their lives and livelihoods for a climate disaster they did not cause,” he said. Pakistan’s contribution to global carbon emissions is less than 1%but it is among the 10 countries most affected by climate change.
The South Asian country of 220 million people reported an inflation rate of 27% for August. government data, and was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Its currency has depreciated, and its net foreign reserves have simply declined 8 billion dollars according to the State Bank of Pakistan in August.
Pakistan’s rural areas were the worst affected by the floods.
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Political strife has been raging in the country since April, following the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan, who was charged by Pakistani police under anti-terrorism laws.
Impact on food inflation
Rural areas of Pakistan have been hit the hardest by the floods, which will have a severe impact on Pakistan’s agricultural industry and consequently on food prices.
Bhutto Zardari told CNBC that “about 80-90%” of Pakistan’s farmland has been damaged by the floods. The International Rescue Committee He reports that 4 million hectares of agricultural land have been destroyed, including 800,000 cattle.
Before the disaster, food inflation in rural provinces was significantly higher than in urban areas. For example, Onion prices in urban areas of Pakistan increased by 89% from July 2021 to July 2022. In rural areas, this price increase exceeded 100%.
The International Monetary Fund confirmed the release on Monday $1.1 billion With special drawing rights to Pakistan, apart from the bailout program that started in 2019.
The money was already part of an aid program to help Pakistan stabilize its economy. Pakistan has now launched a joint appeal with the United Nations for about $160 million, which Bhutto Zardari told CNBC “is a very conservative estimate of the bare minimum requirements at this point.”
More than a million homes were destroyed and key infrastructure such as bridges, road networks and dams were damaged, Bhutto Zardari added. According to him, in the future, Pakistan “will need a large-scale reconstruction that will require a lot of work.”
In Dera Allah Yar town of Jafarabad district of Balochistan province, residential areas were flooded after heavy monsoon rains.
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