ISLAMABAD   -    United Nations Secre­tary General Antonio Guterres’s solidarity visit to Pakistan amid floods has boosted the relief efforts and chanc­es of possible funding by the world.

During his two-day vis­it to Pakistan, the UN chief appealed for ‘mas­sive’ global support for Pakistan where unprec­edented floods have killed near­ly 1,400 people and made more than a million people homeless.

Guterres made the appeal soon as he land­ed in Islamabad. “I have arrived in 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 catastrophe,” Guterres tweeted shortly after his arrival.

The UN chief lat­er met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and For­eign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari among other top officials “I call on the international com­munity that Pakistan needs massive financial support, as ac­cording to initial estimates the losses are around $ 30 billion,” Guterres told a joint news con­ference in Islamabad with PM Sharif. The UN chief also visited the areas most impacted by the climate catastrophe.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyam Au­rangzeb, said the UN chief’s vis­it will help highlight the prob­lems faced by flood victims at a global level and help in “sensi­tising the world” about the con­sequences of climate change.

The devastating floods have also caused significant dam­age to Mohenjo Daro, a famous 4,500-year-old archaeological site in the south-eastern Sindh province which UNESCO has de­clared a World Heritage site.

More than a third of Pakistan was submerged by melting glaciers and record monsoon rains that began in June, caus­ing colossal damage to homes, roads, bridges, rail networks, livestock and crops. While Fi­nance Minister Miftah Ismail estimated the total loss at $10 billion amid a continuing eco­nomic crisis, independent an­alysts put the figure between $15 billion to $ 20 billion, and fear it could further rise.

The Pakistani economy is already struggling with fast-shrinking foreign exchange reserves and steep inflation, which touched 27.3 percent in August, a five-decade high.

Several countries have pledged support to Pakistan. Of­ficials said more than 50 spe­cial flights carrying aid have ar­rived so far in the country and more are scheduled in the com­ing days. Hundreds of thou­sands of displaced people are living in camps, and many more – six million as far as he knew – are with host communities. On its own, Pakistan is least pre­pared to handle the natural di­saster especially at a time when it is going through the new In­ternational Monetary Fund pro­gramme. Former ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said the visit of the UN secretary general at this critical time was a good gesture.

“The UN secretary general vis­ited the flood-hit areas and met with the flood affected persons. Now we have to wait and see the reaction of the internation­al community over the appeal of the US secretary general for supporting Pakistan in this crit­ical time,” he added.

Naqvi said the UN chief had urged the international com­munity to extend massive sup­port to Pakistan that had little contribution to the emissions but bore the brunt of climate change. “The scale of the devas­tation seems to have surpassed the super floods of 2010,” he mentioned.