17 September 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Flood-Ravaged Pakistan Facing Many Humanitarian Crises at Once, Secretary-General


Says at Launch of United Nations $2 Billion Revised Appeal for Disaster Relief


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the launch of the revised humanitarian funding plan for Pakistan floods, in New York today, 17 September:

Thank you for joining us as we launch the revised Pakistan floods appeal.

One month ago, I travelled to Pakistan and witnessed some of the devastation for myself.

We have all been struck by the enormous scale of the crisis.  The number of people affected.  The amount of need.

As we can see in these pictures, the human tragedy is immense — and it is growing.

The flood waters have kept moving.

The wall of water has now washed over the south of the country.

In the floods’ wake, we are seeing hunger, misery and desperation.  Children becoming malnourished.  Skin diseases on the rise because of the lack of soap and clean water.  Nowhere for families to shelter from the sweltering sun.

Diarrhoea could spread quickly in these conditions.  Clean water and sanitation equipment must reach even more people.

Millions of children and pregnant women are especially at risk.  They need access to critical health care.

Pakistan is not facing just one humanitarian crisis — but many at once.  Different responses are required.

In some places, water is still spreading and millions are waiting for help.  In other areas, waters have receded and people are eager to rebuild and plant crops.

All of this makes the Pakistan floods the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65 year history.

Simply put:  Helping the 20 million people affected will be a test of our collective humanity.

That is why today we are launching an appeal for an additional $1.594 million in assistance.  Together with the initial appeal, our 12-month response plan amounts to just over $2 billion.

The United Nations and the humanitarian community know what to do.

Getting food, medicines and tents to people who need them.  Getting trained and experienced workers into some of the most difficult parts of the country.  This is what we can do.

The hard part is reaching so many people with what they need, when they need it.  That is why your support is crucial now more than ever.

The waters may be receding in places, but the needs are not.  Every dollar is required to save lives.

I thank the Governments, regional organisations and individuals that have generously supported humanitarian work in Pakistan.

Your assistance is making an immense difference for millions of people. 

But even greater challenges lie ahead.

Let us rise to them.

Let us dig deeper.

Let us help the people of Pakistan respond to this global disaster.

Thank you very much for your support.

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For information media • not an official record