UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly expressed solidarity Friday with flood-battered Pakistan and called on the international community to increase aid and keep up the political will to support the country's recovery long-term.
The assembly passed a resolution that made all those points. It also urged the U.N. to step up efforts to “sensitize the international community” to Pakistan's needs and “mobilize effective, immediate and adequate international support and assistance."
Record-breaking floods in the developing South Asian country have affected 33 million people and killed 1,700 or more since mid-June. Nearly 8 million people were displaced, and hundreds of thousands are still living in tents and makeshift homes.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who saw some of the damage for himself during a visit last month, reminded the assembly of the losses: more than 2 million homes damaged or destroyed, while and crops and livestock were ravaged. He said the disaster could thrust more than 15 million people into poverty.
Meanwhile, the U.N. also has sounded alarms about the potential for a second crisis of waterborne and other diseases amid the inundation, which damaged many of Pakistan's health facilities.
“The situation is going from bad to worse,” Guterres told the assembly. “Pakistan is on the verge of a public health disaster.”
The U.N. has appealed for $816 million to fund aid to Pakistan through May, but Guterres said that sum “pales in comparison to what is needed on every front."
The world body and the Pakistani government are planning an international support conference to ramp up contributions.