Pakistan: World Bank estimates floods caused $40B in damages

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan said Wednesday the World Bank estimates record-breaking floods this summer have caused $40 billion in damage in this impoverished South Asian nation. The number is $10 billion more than a previous estimate by the Pakistani government.

Clammy Pakistan was already facing a severe financial crisis before the heavy monsoon rains hit in mid-June. The rains triggered unprecedented flooding, at times inundating a third of the country’s territory, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to move to safer places.

The new assessment came during a meeting between Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and climate change experts in the capital, Islamabad. There was no immediate word from the World Bank about the new estimate.

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The floods, which experts say are being made worse by climate change, have killed 1,719 people and affected 33 million people since mid-June. The water has damaged or washed away 2 million homes.

Sharif’s government last month offered an estimate of $30 billion from the floods but warned the real number could be far higher. A final report on the damage has yet to be completed with the help of international aid organizations and credit institutions, including the World Bank.

The United Nations has revised its appeal for aid to Pakistan five-fold to $816 million from its original $160 million, saying recent estimates of damage caused by the floods point to an urgent need for long-term assistance into next year.

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A government statement following the meeting between the prime minister and the newly formed Pakistan Climate Change Council on Wednesday quoted an oft-repeated statement by Sharif that, despite accounting for less than 1% of global carbon emissions, Pakistan is among the 10 countries hardest hit by the are affected by climate change.

Sharif also said he hopes next month’s UN climate conference in Egypt – for which Pakistan’s prime minister was recently nominated as vice-chairman – will offer Pakistan “an opportunity to clarify its stance on the vulnerability of developing countries to the impacts of climate change.” “.

Government officials said more than half of flood victims in Pakistan’s hardest-hit province of Sindh have returned to their homes in the past three weeks after floodwaters receded there and elsewhere in the country, including Baluchistan, where the UN estimates 43 people have been damaged by flooding were % of the crop.

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Flood fatalities included 345 women and 641 children. The UN says 7 million women and children need immediate access to food.

Pakistan wants the world community to scale up aid to flood survivors, who are now also at risk of waterborne diseases, malaria and dengue fever. Experts say people in flood-hit areas will face a severe winter this year and help is urgently needed.

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