Time to act is now, PM calls for climate action at SCO

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday called for action against climate change that has caused cataclysmic floods in Pakistan as he said that “it’s time to act, act now.”

The prime minister was addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) Council of Heads of State (CHS), where he spoke about the climate catastrophe that has devastated Pakistan and killed hundreds.

The prime minister added that the floods — which have caused damages amounting to billions of dollars — make Pakistan look like “a sea of water”.

“The devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change-induced. It is the result of climate change, cloud outbursts, and unprecedented rains, combined with hill torrents coming down. All this put together makes Pakistan look like a sea of water,” the premier said.

Noting that he has “never seen this kind of devastation” before, the premier called on the organisation to “build a wall” against the menace of climate change.

The premier stressed that the SCO should make a plan for the coming generations.

Record monsoon rains in the south and southwest Pakistan and glacial melt in northern parts triggered the flooding that has impacted nearly 33 million people in the 220 million South Asian nation, sweeping away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock in damages estimated at $30 billion.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reported 1,508 deaths including 536 children and 308 women.

Hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced are in dire need of support in terms of food, shelter, clean drinking water, toilets, and medicines.

Many have been sleeping in the open by the side of elevated highways, with water-borne diseases spreading among people and affecting thousands.

The torrential monsoon, which submerged huge swathes of Pakistan, was a one in a hundred-year event likely made more intense by climate change, scientists said on Thursday.

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