Pakistan PM calls for global unity to fight diseases and emergencies caused by climate change

Representatives from 70 countries, the World Health Organisation, and other international organisations attend a two-day Global Heath Security Summit

By AP

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Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar speaks during the Global Heath Security Summit in Islamabad on Wednesday. — AP
Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar speaks during the Global Heath Security Summit in Islamabad on Wednesday. — AP

Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 3:16 PM

Pakistan's prime minister on Wednesday called for unified efforts to tackle global infectious diseases like Covid-19 and emergencies caused by climate change, nearly 1 1/2-year after devastating floods killed 1,700 people in his nation.

Representatives from 70 countries, the World Health Organization, and other international organisations attended a two-day summit. It comes as reports show that millions of people who lost their homes in the floods were still living in tents for the second consecutive harsh winter.

The 2022 unprecedented flooding, which started in mid-June that year and which experts attribute in part to climate change, at one point left a third of Pakistan submerged.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar told the meeting in Islamabad that “no state in the world, no matter how powerful it is, can meet such challenges" alone.

Kakar said Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable country to the impacted by climate change. He said while the developed world has systems in place to timely respond to health emergencies, a similar setup is lacking in the developing world.

Dozens of countries and international institutions at an international conference in Geneva in January 2023 pledged more than $9 billion to help Pakistan recover and rebuild from the summer floods.

According to the UK-based Islamic Relief charity, the progress has been far too slow, with only an estimated 5 per cent of damaged and destroyed homes fully rebuilt. It said many rural flood survivors feel abandoned, with a worsening mental health crisis in some communities.

The donor conference "was widely seen as a success, but most of the money pledged has not yet reached people on the ground,” the group said. It said millions were still living in tents or basic shelters, without access to decent livelihoods or basic services.


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