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Calls for Australia to increase aid to Pakistan flood disaster as reparations question tabled

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Reparations should be paid by rich countries to those bearing the brunt of climate disasters, Pakistan’s minister for climate change has said following unprecedented flooding which has left hundreds dead.Sherry Rehman said Pakistan was ‘ground zero’ but had “contributed less than one per cent to [greenhouse gas] emissions.”

Speaking to the Guardian, she added: “There is so much loss and damage with so little reparations to countries that contributed so little to the world’s carbon footprint that obviously the bargain made between the global north and global south is not working.”

Mahagun Baloch and her baby are barely surviving in the camps set up after the disaster Source: SBS News / Aaron Fernandes

As discussions about emissions targets take place, Mahagun Baloch and her baby are barely surviving.Their village was destroyed by Pakistan’s floods and now they are taking shelter in a camp by the side of the road in Ghotki district.“We have been forced to come here. Because water has flooded our area,” Ms Baloch told SBS News.

Her five-month-old baby is desperately malnourished and her limbs are frail.

Many children have been displaced by the floods.

Monsoonal rains caused floods that have displaced some of the poorest people in Pakistan. Many in this part of the country were already living in poverty, but they’re now facing outbreaks of infectious disease and malnutrition.The young mother, desperately trying to give her baby water, told SBS News she has to beg to feed her four children.But no-one has come here to check on her baby’s health, and she has no money to take her to see a doctor.

“I don’t have even ten rupees to take her for a check-up.”

Children at the camp in Ghotki distrcit.jpg

Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountains have brought floods that have affected 33 million people. Source: SBS News / Aaron Fernandes

This camp is one of the hundreds across Sindh province, one of the worst affected areas.One of the women, living in the camp with her two daughters, says they don’t feel safe.“How can we feel safe here? We’re sitting out in the open,” Sonehari Bhayo said.Aid organisations estimate almost 6.5 million people are in need of shelter across Pakistan.

“They have lost literally everything. This is quite traumatising for the children,” Save the Children Pakistan Country Director Muhammad Khuram Gondal said.

The United Nations has called for the international community to provide $160 million in aid.Pakistan’s neighbour China has committed $63.7 million, while the United States has promised $44.3 million and the United Kingdom $25.4 million.

So far, Australia has pledged $2 million, after sending $75 million to Pakistan when it last faced catastrophic floods in 2010.

A graphic showing the amount of aid the UN, China, the US, UK and Australia have given to Pakistan.

Source: SBS News

Aid agencies are calling for Australia to more than double its efforts.“Our sector is calling for an additional $5 million straight away to work with local communities to help those on the ground, but more assistance will be required after that as well,” Australian Council for International Development Natasha Chabbra says.Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong told Senate Estimates on Monday the federal government will consider further support in consultation with international partners following the launch of the UN Flash Appeal. She rejected the idea that Australia was partly responsible for the disaster in Pakistan by not doing enough to stop climate change.

“I would make the point, as I made when I had the privilege of being Australia’s Climate Minister, that pointing the finger at each other when it comes to resolving the global action on climate change was less productive than finding agreement about how we start to reduce emissions.”

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