ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The Pakistan’s climate change minister Sherry Rehman said on Tuesday the country cannot afford to spend more on flood-affected areas, according to sources, as she called for faster international help at the launch of new UN appeal for aid.
This came a day after the Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) provided basic essentials to support the flood-affected areas of Pakistan that killed roughly 1,700 in the country.
“We have no space to give our economy any stimulus … the developed world should accelerate funding for climate hit disasters,” the climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, told an conference on aid for Pakistan in Geneva, as the NDTV quoted.
The United Nations revised up its humanitarian appeal for Pakistan five-fold, to $816 million from $160 million, as a surge of water-borne diseases and fear of growing hunger posed new dangers after weeks of unprecedented flooding.
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But Julien Harneis, the UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, said the $816 million target for the appeal was “absolutely not enough”.
Meanwhile, director general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Pakistan was “on the verge of a public health disaster”.
The deluge, brought by record monsoon rains and heavy glacial melt in northern mountains, has impacted 33 million people, causing damage of an estimated $30 billion.
The government and the United Nations have blamed climate change for the disaster, which has submerged huge swathes of the South Asian country and killed nearly 1,700 people. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are living in the open.
Pakistan Economy in a Glimpse
Pakistan’s debt reaches to a record high, jumping to almost 60 trillion Pakistani Rupees due to a huge currency depreciation and ongoing political crisis under Shehbaz Sharif government.
The increase in public debt was PKR9.3 trillion in the past one fiscal year but it swelled up to a record PKR49.2 trillion by end-June 2022, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Moreover, the central bank’s latest debt bulletin for the fiscal year 2021-22 showcased that the debt burden increased in terms of the size of the national economy, indicating that Pakistan is at its worst and under a heavy load of unbearable debt burden.
According to the SBP, the total debt and liabilities of the country increased to PKR59.7 trillion, a surge of PKR 11.9 trillion, or 25 percent, compared to the preceding fiscal year which clearly indicates that in the fiscal year 2021-22, the nation added one-fourth of the debt accumulated from 1947 to June 2021.
In terms of the size of the economy, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities were equal to 76.4 percent in 2018 which jumped to 89.2 percent by June this year despite the rebasing of the economy.