Tuesday, September 16, 2014

General Assembly Plenary on the humanitarian situation resulting from the floods in Pakistan

Statement of H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin

General Assembly

Plenary on the humanitarian situation resulting from the floods in Pakistan

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to convey the deepest condolences of the Government and people of Afghanistan to the government and people of Pakistan, our neighbors, for their losses during this tragedy, and our full solidarity with them as they recover and rebuild in the coming months and years.

The United Nations as an Organization reminds us constantly that we do not exist in isolation; more than ever we share the joy and pain of our fellow men. I want to assure the Pakistani people that they are not alone in this struggle; that the international community, and this great Organization, including Afghanistan, are here to assist them. Afghanistan and Pakistan share a long border, common languages, religion, culture, and history, and we feel closely the pain and anguish of our brothers and sisters in Pakistan during this tragedy.

Mr. President,

In this regard, I would like to welcome the draft resolution tabled today, and encourage the international community to give generously in order to minimize the suffering of the Pakistani people and speed the recovery process. Afghanistan has already pledged $1mil in aid, despite our own difficult situation, and has sent four helicopters and more than 4 tonnes of medical supplies, along with 48 medical and humanitarian personnel. The international presence in Afghanistan, both ISAF and UNAMA, have also leapt to assist the Pakistani people, both directly and by funneling aid from outside. We will continue to work closely with our brothers and sisters in Pakistan to offer them a helping hand and a shoulder to lean on during this difficult time.

Thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan are also among those suffering, as three refugee camps have been largely destroyed, affecting more than 3000 families. Our Consul General in Peshawar has already distributed a thousand blankets, and is working closely with UNHCR to ensure that these families are cared for.

Mr. President,

None of us can be disinterested in the face of such destruction. More than fourteen million people have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and in many cases their lives. We have a common responsibility, as human beings, to come together and assist the government and people of Pakistan however we can, so that this disaster will not result in further tragedy. It is our hope that the international community will demonstrate its solidarity with the people and government of Pakistan by responding promptly and generously to any request from Pakistan for assistance in their plight.

Again, I reiterate to the Pakistani people and government the full support of my own government and people, and we will assist you further through all available channels.

I thank you, Mr. President.