Pakistan frontline of climate war: UN head

·2-min read

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged the world to unite against climate change during a visit to Pakistan, where devastating floods have killed nearly 1400 people.

"This is the time to mobilise the efforts of everybody against the climate change," Guterres said at a press conference in Islamabad with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

"We are heading into a disaster. We have waged a war on nature and the nature is striking back in a devastating way - today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries," he said.

"We need to stop an increase in emissions and start reducing them now."

Guterres urged the world to rally in support of Pakistan, a country he said was on the frontline in the global war against the impact of climate change, despite not contributing much to carbon omission.

"It is absolutely essential that this is recognised by the international community, especially by those countries that have more contributed to the climate change," the UN chief said.

The unprecedented floods, triggered by heavy monsoon rains in June, have killed 1391 people, a third of them children, and inundated an area larger than Britain.

At least 33 million people have been affected by the floods, which most observers said came as a result of climate change, and Pakistani officials said pose an existential threat to the country.

"There is no memory of anything similar to what has happened with this impact of climate change on Pakistan," Guterres said.

Pakistan's Finance Ministry estimated the losses to the country's economy at $US30 billion ($A44 billion). UN agencies last week said millions of people, including vulnerable women and children, needed urgent humanitarian assistance.

"The numbers are appalling but beyond the numbers I see the families," Guterres said. "They have lost their loved ones, houses, crops and jobs and they are living in a desperate condition."

The UN last week launched an emergency global appeal to raise $US161 million ($A235 million) to fund the immediate response to the catastrophe.

Guterres will visit the worst-hit southern province of Sindh on Saturday. Many cities and towns there are still inundated.

Sharif said the visit would help Pakistan secure more global aid to rebuild.