The West Agreed to Pay Climate Reparations. That Was the Easy Part.

At this point, the UN fund is “an empty bucket.” How full could it get?

Illustration by Daniel Zender / The Atlantic; Getty

Last year, Pakistan was hit with floods so devastating that they were hard to comprehend. In some areas, 15 inches of rain fell in a single day. And the rain went on for months, inundating one-third of the country, spreading disease, and displacing nearly 8 million people. Six months later, Pakistan is still in crisis—nearly 2 million people are living near stagnant floodwater. Pakistan has estimated that it needs about $16.3 billion to recover from the floods, a sum that does not take into account so many ripple effects of the crisis: grief over those who died, education abruptly ended, the struggles of girls married off young as their families coped with a sudden plunge into poverty.

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