Remarks by Mr. Ahmad Warraich, Minister, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations, ECOSOC Meeting "Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines" (16 December 2013)

Mr. President,

One of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded on our planet, Super Typhoon Haiyan has left behind heart-rending scenes of pain and misery and unbelievable destruction to property and installations. It killed thousands of men, women and children and left nearly 10 million people homeless. We have conveyed our deepest condolences to the Government and people of the Philippines.

But beyond condolences what is required is national and international action to stem further suffering of the people.

The Government and the brave people of the Philippines, as well as the UN humanitarian system, particularly OCHA, deserve our appreciation for effectively responding to this great catastrophe and extending emergency humanitarian assistance to the affected people.

Pakistan joined the international community to provide financial assistance to the Government of the Philippines. We contributed US $ 1 million. This notwithstanding, the challenge is gigantic and ongoing. The much larger task of rehabilitation of the affected communities and reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure has just begun for which the Philippines requires long-term assistance of the UN and the international community.

The Secretary General's forthcoming visit to the Philippines is most timely in that context, because now the hardest part of humanitarian cycle - from relief to recovery to rehabilitation to reconstruction - starts.

Mr. President,

Super Typhoon Haiyan has once again underscored that natural disasters constitute one of the greatest challenges to human well-being and development.

It has highlighted the urgent imperative of strengthening international coordination in humanitarian relief assistance and the need to make advance preparations. It demands from us // a collective response with greater coordination and precision, as well as more scientific research to better understand the dynamics of climate change and develop new technologies that would minimize the impact of natural calamities.

Mr. President,

Pakistan has experienced large-scale natural disasters and major humanitarian challenges in the last few years. The destructive earthquake of 2005 and the massive floods of 2010 and 2011 had affected millions of people.

Familiar with the challenges of a natural disaster, we fully empathize with the authorities and people of the Philippines and express our solidarity with them.

The people of Pakistan faced these challenges with great courage and resilience. But the mammoth task could not have been accomplished without the timely and generous assistance of the UN system and the international community in effectively responding to the challenge.

Pledges made so far should be fulfilled urgently. Because we can tell from experience that commitments made by the international community first raise hopes of the populations affected by disaster. Then delays in their actualization create despondency.

I thank you, Mr. President.