Pakistan: World Bank estimates floods caused $40 billion in damage


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan said on Wednesday that the World Bank estimates that record flooding this summer has caused $40 billion in damage to the impoverished South Asian country. The figure is $10 billion more than an earlier estimate by the Pakistani government.

Cash-strapped Pakistan was already facing a severe financial crisis before heavy monsoon rains hit in mid-June. The rains triggered unprecedented floods that at one point submerged a third of the country’s territory, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to move to safer places.

The new assessment came during a meeting in the capital, Islamabad, between Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and climate change experts. There was no immediate word from the World Bank on the new estimate.

The floods, which experts say are made worse by climate change, have killed 1,719 people and affected 33 million since mid-June. The waters damaged or washed away 2 million homes.

Sharif’s government last month offered an estimate of $30 billion from the floods, but warned the real figure could be much higher. A final damage report has yet to be finalized with the help of international aid agencies and credit institutions, including the World Bank.

The United Nations has quintupled its aid appeal for Pakistan to $816 million from an initial $160 million, saying recent flood damage assessments have underscored the urgent need for aid to long term, which will last until next year.

A government statement following Wednesday’s meeting between the prime minister and Pakistan’s new Climate Change Council cited an oft-repeated statement by Sharif that, despite having a less than 1% share of global carbon emissions, the Pakistan is among the 10 countries most affected by climate change.

Sharif also said he hopes the United Nations climate conference in Egypt next month – for which Pakistan’s prime minister was recently appointed vice-president – will give Pakistan “an opportunity to present its position on the vulnerability of the developing world to the effects of climate change.

Government officials say more than half of flood victims in Pakistan’s worst-hit Sindh province have returned home in the past three weeks after floodwaters receded there and elsewhere in the country, including including Balochistan, where the UN estimates that floods have injured 43 people. % cultures.

Flood-related deaths included 345 women and 641 children. According to the UN, 7 million women and children need immediate access to food.

Pakistan wants the international community to step up aid to flood survivors, now also at risk from waterborne diseases, malaria and dengue fever. Experts say people in flood-hit areas will face a harsh winter this year and help is urgently needed.


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