The US is sending $30m in aid to Pakistan as fundraising efforts ramp up amid devastating flooding which has left more than 1,100 people dead including 380 children.
A third of the country is under water after unusually severe “monster” monsoon rains which triggered landslides, and glacial lake outbursts over the past two months.
The events have led to the collapse of buildings and the destruction of schools and hospitals. Roads, crops and livestock have been washed away in the torrents.
More than 1,600 people have been injured and millions left homeless. The army is rescuing people stranded in cut-off areas via helicopter and making food drops. Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal estimated that the floods could cost the nation more than $10bn.
On Tuesday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the international community to support the South Asian country by raising $160m, calling the diaster “a monsoon on steroids”.
‘Today it’s Pakistan, tomorrow, it could be your country,” the UN chief said.
Mr Guterres described the flooding as a “climate catastrophe” and warned that South Asia is a climate crisis “hotspot” where people are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts.
“It is outrageous that climate action is being put on the back burner as global emissions of greenhouse gases are still rising, putting all of us – everywhere – in growing danger,” he said. “Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change.”
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said it would be sending an additional $30m in humanitarian assistance to support food, nutrition, multi-purpose cash, safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and shelter assistance.
“The United States is deeply saddened by the devastating loss of life and livelihoods throughout Pakistan. We stand with Pakistan during this difficult time,” a statement read.
Separately, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former prime minister, held an international telethon and raised 5 billion rupees ($62m) for flood victims.
The political leader is facing terrorism charges in the country after allegedly making threats towards the police and judiciary. Mr Khan has previously accused authorities of torturing a political aide who is being held on sedition charges.