Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday told the leaders of the SCO grouping that Pakistan looked like “a sea of water”, as he made an emotional appeal to its leaders to take immediate action to tackle climate change that he said has caused unprecedented floods in his country.
Sharif was addressing the SCO’s Council of Heads of State (CHS) Summit here in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, where he spoke about the climate catastrophe that has led to cataclysmic floods in Pakistan. Over 1,400 people have died and 12,758 injured since June 14 this year in the devastating floods that have submerged about a third of Pakistan.
“The devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change-induced. It is the result of climate change, cloud outbursts, and unprecedented rains, combined with hill torrents coming down. All this put together makes Pakistan look like a sea of water,” Sharif said.
“This climatic injustice has befallen us despite the fact that our carbon emission is less than one per cent,” he said.
Making an emotional appeal to the SCO leaders to extend assistance to Pakistan and chalk out plans regarding climate change for our future generations, he mentioned that Pakistan was braving the disaster of floods, where hill torrents and massive rains killed 1,400 people including 400 children while millions of houses were damaged partially or completely.
“I earnestly appeal to all of you that let the SCO stand up and take steps against this devastation through sustainable programmes,” he said.
Sharif said the country never faced such a level of climate-induced catastrophe in its history that inflicted disaster upon human lives, infrastructure, livestock and crops.
He stressed the dire need of assistance by the international community to help Pakistan overcome the problems in the wake of floods, including relief, rehabilitation and control of water-borne diseases.
“In view of the massive disaster, I would be very honest to urge this forum to extend assistance to Pakistan and chalk out plans regarding climate change for our future generations,” he said.
Sharif reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm and unwavering commitment to achieving the goals of the SCO.
The floods brought by record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern mountains have also swept away hundreds of thousands of homes, vehicles, crops, and livestock, leading to an estimated loss of USD 30 billion.
Human-caused climate change may have played a role in the deadly floods that submerged parts of Pakistan in recent weeks, according to an analysis looking at how much global warming was to blame for this extreme event.
Researchers from the World Weather Attribution group say climate change may have increased the intensity of rainfall. However there were many uncertainties in the results, so the team was unable to quantify the scale of the impact.
The team, including scientists from Pakistan, India, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand, the US and the UK, used published, peer-reviewed methods to perform an event attribution study.
Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.