• Friday, September 30, 2022

UK News

Preet Kaur Gill MP urges to urgently increase flood aid to Pakistan

By: Pramod Thomas

Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill has urged the UK government to increase aid to Pakistan following unprecedented flooding which has left thousands dead.

“It was a matter of huge concern that the government has only pledged £1.5m in financial assistance to Pakistan in response to the immediate humanitarian crisis. I am concerned that this fails to address the scale of the devastation facing the country and its people,” the MP said.

In a letter to then foreign secretary Liz Truss on August 30, Gill noted that a third of Pakistan is now under water following the floods, an area roughly equivalent to the size of Great Britain.

As many as 33 million people have been affected, with at least 1,325 dead, including 466 children, in the floods brought by record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountains, national disaster officials have said.

With yet more rain expected in the coming month, the situation could worsen still further, a top official of the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) warned.

“The UN has appealed for $160m, so the UK’s contribution to date is barely 1 per cent of the total required to meet urgent humanitarian needs. As a close friend of the people of Pakistan, and with so many people across our country having close ties of family and friendship to the country, it is essential that the UK play its part and steps up to meet the scale of this challenge,” Gill said.

“What more is the UK government prepared to do to support the people of Pakistan at this incredibly challenging time? I strongly urge you to convene your international counterparts to coordinate and scale up a response proportionate to this crisis. The speed with which the humanitarian situation is evolving demands an equally swift response. There is no doubt that the unfolding disaster constitutes a climate catastrophe. Despite contributing less than 1 per cent to global emissions, Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries on earth to climate change-related weather extremes. Pakistan has over 7,000 glaciers, more than anywhere else on earth outside the poles.”

The lawmaker for Birmingham Edgbaston has said that the scale of this disaster in the country is incomprehensible, adding that the humanitarian situation is set to deteriorate even further as heavy rains continue over the coming days and weeks.

“Once the glaciers melt, the devastation they could unleash would be irreversible. This must be a wake-up call. I have been deeply concerned by some of your comments in relation to climate action during the Conservative leadership contest. Delaying or withdrawing action on mitigation and adaptation, such as your government’s decision to cut £100 million in international climate finance in July, is an inexcusable abdication of leadership given what we know global warming will cause and what we can already see before our eyes,” MP Gill said.

“Climate change will be the defining issue of the 21st century, and it is therefore imperative that this government continues to honour its international climate finance commitments and leads from the front to galvanise global action in the run-up to the COP27 in November. I urge you to grasp the implications of this crisis, and I look forward to your swift and comprehensive response.”

The floods have followed record-breaking summer heat, with the government and the UN both having blamed climate change for the extreme weather and the resulting devastation.

Pakistani authorities restored power on Tuesday (6) to towns and cities along the Afghan border, where hundreds of thousands of people have struggled without electricity for weeks.

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