Let me join other speakers in expressing my profound sympathies with the people and Government of Pakistan for the human suffering and tragic loss of life caused by this devastating flood.
Norway enjoys close people-to-people relations with Pakistan. Many Norwegians whose roots are in Pakistan are now in distress over affected relatives.
The flooding in Pakistan is not only an unprecedented situation and one of the greatest disasters witnessed in recent years. It is more than anything a story of millions of personal tragedies.
It is the story of the little girl with acute diarrhoea, who urgently needs clean water and medical attention. And of her mother, who is struggling to save her own life as well. It is the story of the father who stayed behind to save his family’s livelihood, who is worrying about their well-being.
The first wave of flood water caused hardship to millions of people. Infrastructure and livelihoods have been hit, with devastating long-term effects. The second wave of suffering, bringing waterborne diseases, could be even more deadly.
We must therefore act now, and provide immediate emergency relief to minimise the deadly impact of this second wave while we can.
We meet here today at the United Nations to support the people of Pakistan, and to help the Government of Pakistan to coordinate and provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to its affected population, with the assistance of the UN.
Our unison message to the flood victims must be: we will help to save your lives, we will assist you through your suffering now, and we will continue to support you through the recovery phase. I appeal to all donors to ensure that their assistance and funding is made available immediately.
The international community and humanitarian actors should align their support with the priorities of the Pakistani Government and the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan is an important platform to this end, and we expect the plan to result in a better response. Good humanitarian coordination means ensuring that help is directed where the needs are greatest, and are provided in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality.
The One UN in Pakistan is a close partner of the Pakistani Government, and we welcome the Government’s constructive decision to allow the UN Humanitarian Air Service to deploy assets in the country. We encourage the inclusion of the education cluster in the forthcoming update of the response plan.
Women, elderly and children are once again hit hardest by a natural disaster. We urge the Pakistani Government and all humanitarian actors on the ground to pay special attention to the different needs of women, girls, men and boys in this dire situation.
Norway has already given 115 million Norwegian kroner, about 19 million US dollars including CERF funds, in humanitarian assistance to the flood victims.
The bulk of our funds have been channelled through the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan, to organisations who are close to the flood victims, and have long experience of operating in Pakistan. Norway’s assistance has now been made available to the recipient organisations.
To support national ownership – and leadership – we have also earmarked part of our contribution for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in Pakistan.
What is unfolding in Pakistan is a reminder that we may be facing a world where disasters exacerbated by climate change will drive millions of people from their homes, threaten lives and destroy ecosystems. If this is the case, let it be a reminder that triggers our immediate response as well as our long-term concern.
Behind every loss of life stands a grieving family. Let our efforts be intensified by the plea of the parents who have lost their livelihood, and now risk losing what is dearest to them – their children.
Let this meeting be a call for concerted action. A call for us to act immediately and resolutely in line with our universal humanitarian beliefs to save lives, alleviate suffering and ensure the human dignity of the people of Pakistan.