Hollywood actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, on a visit to Pakistan to meet people displaced by cataclysmic floods and raise international awareness, said on Wednesday she had “never seen anything like this before,” warning the world to act on climate change before it was too late.
A historic monsoon season brought about three times as much rain this year as Pakistan’s three-decade average, causing unprecedented flooding that scientists say was exacerbated by climate change. Around 1,600 people have been killed since mid-June and nearly 33 million people affected in the South Asian nation of 220 million. The floods have swept away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock. The government estimates damages could cross $30 billion.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jolie said in a video released by the Pakistan military after the actor visited the National Flood Response Coordination Center (NFRCC) in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Jolie was previously in Pakistan on humanitarian missions after an earthquake in 2005 and floods in 2010. This time she is on a trip with the International Rescue Committee, and visited and met with flood-affected people in the southern Sindh province and also attended a briefing about flood response and measures by government and military officials.
“I really cannot imagine what it feels like to be there,” she said in the video. “Often we speak of appeals, reliefs, and supports but this is something very very different. I think this is a real wake-up call to the world about where we are at.”
The actor said she would make all possible efforts to let the world know the scale of devastation in Pakistan and the life-saving support that was needed.
“I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more,” the actor said. “Now we are in a situation like this, where the needs are so great and truly every effort is either a life or death for so many people”.
“I’ve seen those lives who were saved,” she said, adding that without sufficient aid, others “won’t be here in the next few weeks, they won’t make it.”
“They won’t make it, too many children, so malnourished and even if they make it through the next months, the winter coming and the destruction of the crops and the harsh reality,” Jolie said. “I am overwhelmed but I don’t feel its fair to say that because I am not living in this so I will just simply try to speak out and help.”
Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are still living in the open in Pakistan where stagnant floodwaters, spread over hundreds of kilometers, may take two to six months to recede. Already they have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever that officials say have killed at least 324 people.
United Nations Pakistan said malaria, typhoid and diarrhea cases were spreading quickly, adding 44,000 cases of malaria were reported this week in the southern province.
Source: Arab News Pakistan
BDST: 1609 HRS, SEP 22, 2022