The UN chief called on the world to help flood-hit Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the world to help Pakistan after arriving in the country on Friday to see the damage from record flooding that has killed hundreds and left more than half a million people homeless and living in tents under the open sky.

His trip comes less than two weeks after Guterres appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to help those affected by monsoons and floods that have caused at least $10 billion in damage and 1,391 deaths.

“I have come to Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here. I appeal for massive support from the international community as Pakistan responds to this climate disaster,” he said on Twitter before dawn.

Last week, the UN chief issued a stark warning about the effects of climate change.

“We have stopped sleeping towards the destruction of our planet through climate change,” he said in a video message at a ceremony in Islamabad at the time. “Now, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”

So far, UN agencies and several countries have sent dozens of planeloads of aid. The United States said it would provide $30 million in aid to help flood victims.

The flood reached the whole of Pakistan and affected more than 3.3 million people. Heritage sites were also damaged, including Mohenjo Daro, considered one of the best-preserved ancient settlements in South Asia.

The ruins near the Indus River were discovered in 1922 and to this day, the disappearance of a civilization that dates back 4,500 years, along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, is shrouded in mystery.

Mohenjo Daro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the UN heritage agency on Thursday announced an emergency sum of $350,000 to help restore the damaged cultural heritage site.

Guterres was welcomed on his arrival by Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and will meet with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other government and military officials during his visit.

Before the UN chief arrived, Sharif told a visiting American diplomat that the world must step up its fight against climate change to avoid more deadly floods. Derek Chollet, a senior State Department official, is visiting Islamabad to assess the damage and organize aid.

According to a government statement, Chollet affirmed that the US would stand by Pakistan after the floods and extend aid to help people rebuild.

On Friday, the first American planeload of aid will arrive in Pakistan, according to Pakistani officials, who say Washington is building a humanitarian aid air bridge to deliver much-needed supplies to flood victims.

Since June, heavy rains and floods have added new burdens to cash-strapped Pakistan and highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate change on poorer populations. Experts say Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4% of the world’s historical emissions blamed on climate change. The US is responsible for 21.5%, China for 16.5% and the EU 15%.

The floods in Pakistan also injured 12,722 people, destroyed thousands of kilometers of roads, collapsed bridges and damaged schools and hospitals, according to the National Disaster Management Agency.