ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister said Wednesday that several countries and some of the world’s institutions have pledged $9.7 billion to help his country rebuild from the summer’s catastrophic flood that killed 1,739 people.
Premier Shahbaz Sharif said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres fought for the flood victims “like a Pakistani” during a recent fundraising conference in Geneva.
At a news conference in Islamabad, Sharif pledged transparency when the money is spent, and added that the government would try to prevent a repeat of last summer’s deluge. At one point, one-third of the impoverished country was under water, a “doomsday before the doomsday” of Earth’s changing climate.
The floods destroyed more than 2 million homes and caused more than $30 billion in damage. Previously, Pakistan said that it needed $16.3 billion for reconstruction and that the country would cover almost half of that amount. For the rest, the country sought donations.
Sharif said the response to Pakistan’s appeal in Geneva was beyond his expectation. He said the Saudi government has indicated that it will invest $10 billion in Pakistan apart from depositing $2 billion with the country’s central bank, a move that experts say would boost Pakistan’s fragile economy.
Sharif said he will also travel to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday on a two-day official visit.
However, such U.N. pledging conferences often draw promises of big sums from governments, international organizations and other donors, but the pledges aren’t always fulfilled.
Pakistani authorities say thousands of flood victims are still living in open areas.
Pakistan plays a negligible role in global warming and emits less than 1% of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. But like other developing countries, it has been vulnerable to climate-induced damage, experts say.