WASHINGTON, Sep 07 (APP): The bulk of farmland in Pakistan has been destroyed by the worst-ever floods across the country that compounded food insecurity, Ambassador Masood Khan said in a media interview, adding that intensive efforts are underway to assuage the situation.
“Well, the food supply situation is very dire,” the Pakistani envoy to the united States, said in a response to a question during his interview with National Public Radio (NPR) on Tuesday.
Through its National Disaster Management Authority, the Pakistani Government – which has declared a national emergency – is leading the response in coordinating assessments and directing humanitarian relief to affected people.
“We were facing the crunch before the floods because of the Ukraine war as Pakistan was facing food insecurity and food inflation, but this has been exacerbated by these floods,” Masood Khan said, pointing out that a major priority now is to rush food to the relief camps for the victims.
He appealed to the international community and governments in general, and the United Nations system in particular, to help Pakistan build a better system to deal with disasters stemming from climate change.
“Well it is direct impact of climate change and scientists have established that,” the Pakistani envoy said of the torrential rains that caused rivers and canals to rise to unprecedented levels.
“The people of Pakistan are feeling very, very bad because, I mean, their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is less than one percent — 0.4% — and they are the eighth most vulnerable country in the world and now we are paying the price of climate change”.
Question about water-borne diseases, Masood Khan said that there were outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria, but, with most of the hospitals destroyed or inundated, medical services are difficult to provide.
“We have a medical emergency — some 75,000 women are pregnant — and some of them are about to deliver, so I mean the conditions are really bad,” Masood Khan added.