Early estimates put the damage at more than $10 billion as minister blames climate change
Early estimates put the damage from Pakistan’s recent deadly floods at more than $10 billion, its planning minister said, adding the world has an obligation to help the South Asian nation cope with the effects of man-made climate change.
Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have washed away roads, crops, infrastructure and bridges, killing at least 1,000 people in recent weeks and affecting more than 33 million, over 15% of the country’s 220 million population, reports Reuters.
Climate change to blame
“I think it is going to be huge. So far, (a) very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10 billion,” Ahsan Iqbal told Reuters in an interview.
He said the world owed Pakistan, which was a victim of climate change caused by the “irresponsible development of the developed world.”
“Our carbon footprint is lowest in the world,” he said. “The international community has a responsibility to help us, upgrade our infrastructure, to make our infrastructure more climate resilient, so that we don’t have such losses every three, four, five years,” he said.
Damage to infrastructure and agriculture
Food prices have already shot up due to flooded crops and impassable roads.
Southern, southwestern and northern Pakistan have been the hardest hit by the floods, which have swept large swaths of farmland and stored crops, also isolating the regions from rest of the country for the last several days.
The nation’s foreign minister told Reuters on Sunday he hoped financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund would provide financial aid, taking the economic cost of the floods into account.
However, Iqbal said any formal requests for financial help would need to wait until the scale of the damage was known, something Pakistan was now evaluating with partners, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.