In Buck, the UN Secretary-General’s appeal to the world on climate change: ‘Let’s stop sleepwalking’

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for the world to help Pakistan as he arrived Friday to assess the damage caused by record floods that have killed more than 1,300 people (according to the Associated Press) and left more than half a million others homeless and displaced.

“I have come to Pakistan to express my profound solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here. I appeal to the international community to provide tremendous support as Pakistan responds to this climate catastrophe,” Guterres said.

“Let’s stop our sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet due to climate change. Today, Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”

Guterres’ trip comes less than two weeks after he requested $160 million in emergency funding for Pakistan. International aid is arriving, including the first shipment of aid that the United States has pledged to provide, the Associated Press said today.

In Pakistan, the Secretary-General received Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif during his visit. The country’s Information Minister, Maryam Aurangzeb, thanked him for his visit at a time of great challenges.

Heavy rains and floods – which experts attribute to climate change – have exacerbated the problems of cash-strapped Pakistan; In addition to the death toll, nearly 13,000 were injured and roads, bridges and other infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, destroyed.

Heritage sites have also been damaged, including Mohenjo Daro – a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of the best preserved ancient urban settlements in South Asia. The Heritage Agency will provide $350,000 to help restore these flood-damaged sites.

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