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Pakistan warns flood damage could top $10bn

The Pakistani Foreign Minister urgently called for international assistance as the country’s historic flood death toll is expected to increase in the coming days.

Already recovering from the economic crisis, flood waters flooded more than a third of the country’s territory was in the water, killing more than 1,000 people and affecting 33 million people.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the country’s foreign minister, told CNBC correspondent Dan Murphy on Thursday that he feared the disaster’s damages would exceed current estimates of $10 billion, adding that the country’s crisis was still ongoing and in a “rescue and assistance.” ”

The flood, which Bhutto Zardari told CNBC, is “a climate disaster of biblical proportions.” covers over 95,000 square miles of land. Bhutto Zardari said the crisis is far from over as “Pakistan’s southern regions are still preparing for the flood that will come down the rivers from the north.”

“Pakistan is currently paying with their lives and livelihoods for a climate catastrophe that they did not create,” he said. Pakistan’s contribution to global carbon emissions is less than 1%but it is one of the ten countries in the world most affected by climate change.

The South Asian nation of over 220 million reported an inflation rate of 27% in August. government data, and has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Its currency fell and its net foreign exchange reserves fell to just $8 billion in August, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.

Rural areas in Pakistan were hardest hit by the floods.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Political infighting has gripped the country since April, following the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was charged by Pakistani police under anti-terrorism laws.

Impact of food inflation

Rural areas in Pakistan have been hardest hit by the flooding, which will have a complex impact on Pakistani agriculture and ultimately the cost of food.

Bhutto Zardari told CNBC that “80 to 90%” of Pakistan’s crops were affected by the floods. International Rescue Committee report that 4 million acres of crops were destroyed and 800,000 head of livestock died.

Before the disaster, food inflation in rural provinces was much higher than in cities. For example, The cost of onions in urban areas of Pakistan increased by 89% from July 2021 to July 2022. In rural areas, this increase in value exceeded 100%.

The International Monetary Fund approved the release on Monday $1.1 billion Pakistan in the form of special drawing rights, which is part of its rescue program, which began in 2019.

The money was already part of an aid program to help Pakistan stabilize its economy. Pakistan has now filed a joint appeal with the United Nations worth about $160 million, which Bhutto Zardari told CNBC “is obviously a very conservative estimate of the minimum requirements at this point.”

More than a million homes were destroyed and Bhutto Zardari added that key infrastructure such as bridges, road networks and dams were damaged. In the future, Pakistan will need “large-scale reconstruction, which will require a lot of work,” he said.

Flooded residential areas after heavy monsoon rains in the city of Dera Allah Yar, Jafarabad district, Balochistan province.

Fida Hussein | Afp | Getty Images


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