19 September 2010 The challenge posed by the deadly floods in Pakistan require the international community's continued commitment to relief, recovery and reconstruction in the coming months, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today.
Addressing a high-level ministerial meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban characterized the floods as a “global disaster, a global challenge, and a global test of solidarity.”
He underlined that the catastrophe is unfolding “in a part of the world where stability and prosperity are profoundly in the world's interests.”
So far, the flooding has affected some 20 million people and 20 per cent of Pakistan's land, leaving up to 12 million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid.
The disaster, the Secretary-General said, is one of the “biggest, most complex natural disasters we have faced in the history of the United Nations.”
Along with the world body, the Pakistani Government, non-governmental organizations and others are working around the clock in a bid to save lives, he noted, also recognizing the critical role played by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council and others.
On Friday, the UN and its partners launched their largest-ever natural disaster appeal, seeking more than $2 billion for millions of Pakistani flood victims.
Mr. Ban today appealed for an “urgent response” to the new $2.07-billion appeal, which more than quadruples the original $460 million sought last month, will provide aid for up to 14 million people over a 12-month period.
He said that the UN country team in Pakistan is preparing an analysis of the floods' impact on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, in consultation with the Government and international financial institutions.
“We look forward to the Government of Pakistan's vision and a long-term strategy for rehabilitation and development with clear priorities,” the Secretary-General said.
Today's gathering, chaired jointly by Mr. Ban and Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, also heard from Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and officials including United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Secretary-General said the gathering was intended to show the international community's solidarity with the people of Pakistan.
“We are here to send a clear message that they are not alone,” he emphasized, adding that “this will take much effort by all of us in the months and years to come.”
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