Pakistan's Prime Minister appeals for international support to tackle floods

The country is facing "the toughest time of its history," Shehbaz Sharif told foreign journalists



File photo
File photo

By WAM

Published: Tue 30 Aug 2022, 10:10 PM

As Pakistan announced the "2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan" today in conjunction with the United Nations, to tackle the situation following the devastating rains, floods, and landslides, the country's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has appealed to the international community for further support, saying "much more is required to be done".

"There is a yawning gap between our requirements and what we are receiving at this point in time," he said, pointing out that this year the intensity of rains has been three to four times more than the average of the last 30 years.

Global aid for Pakistan

"Pakistan is facing the toughest time of its history," Sharif told foreign journalists at a press briefing telecast live on Zoom, attended by the Emirates News Agency.

"We have exerted all possible human efforts, and are going to deal with this situation with the support of 220 million Pakistanis," Shehbaz Sharif vowed, and added that the government had put all its resources towards serving the people.

"We will redirect our resources from developing plans towards their rehabilitation. That is very important," he said, urging the global community to stand by Pakistan.

However, the premier warned that any inordinate delay would be very damaging for the people of Pakistan, who are currently in a grave and dire situation following rains and floods.

"We are looking for serious and sincere support," he said.

Procuring wheat from Russia

Sharif said that there were no sanctions on getting wheat supplies from Russia on humanitarian grounds, and Pakistan was negotiating with Russia to buy wheat.

"We have an offer from Russia on wheat supplies on a G2G (government to government) basis. We are negotiating with them and trying to get the best possible prices and terms and conditions. If we get suitable terms we will certainly buy from them, especially under these difficult circumstances," the Prime Minister said.

Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan's economy, already hit by oil prices, would be bound to suffer due to this situation. "Crops have been washed away, and communication and transport systems are badly damaged.

Our land is not ready for the next sowing, and our industry and agriculture are going to suffer." He vowed, however, that with the support of the international community, the country will overcome these challenges sooner than later.

India-Pakistan trade

Responding to a question about importing vegetables and other edible items from New Delhi, the Prime Minister said: "There is no problem with doing trade with India, but unless longstanding issues are resolved between the two countries things cannot move forward.

We need to move forward, empower our people, and provide succour, education, jobs, and health care to impoverished communities. This is an agenda which is dear to our hearts. If they are ready we are ready for talks, and we should not waste time; time and tide wait for none."

The briefing was attended by the Minister for Planning, Development, and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal; Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman, and Chairman National Disaster Management Authority, Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz.

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