Over 10 million children affected by floods: Unicef
ISLAMABAD, September 22, 2010: The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has released a report titled ‘Children in Pakistan: Every Child’s Right -- Responding to the Floods in Pakistan (September 2010)’.
The report focuses Unicef’s interventions in response to the floods in Pakistan.
According to the report, the Pakistan floods began in July 2010 following heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir regions. The disaster has inexorably worsened for five straight weeks, with floodwaters engulfing the country from north to south. Over two thousand people have died and over a million homes have been destroyed since the flooding began.
More than 20 million people have been affected, exceeding the combined total of people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In funding terms, the revised interagency appeal disaster (US $ 2 billion) issued on September 17 was the largest ever, surpassing even that for the Haiti earthquake earlier this year. With over 10 million children hit by the flooding, the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan is so massive that the actual scale continues to elude the imagination of the public across the world.
The impact of the floods will continue to be felt for years, even decades, to come. Initial estimates from the Government of Pakistan and the International Financial Institutions suggest that tens of billions of dollars in damage has been dealt to the economy and infrastructure. The cost in human terms is incalculable. Continued efforts need to be made immediately to ensure there is sufficient support for responding to the immediate crisis as well as the early recovery components that need to be addressed simultaneously. Recovery -- and fulfilling every child’s right -- will take a long time. We need to only look back at the Tsunami and Haiti to recognise that large-scale emergencies involve saving lives in the immediate response but also rebuilding the fabric of societies -- some of which was already frayed -- in a resilient manner.
• One-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area is flooded -- with the flood waters still moving Pakistan is experiencing several disasters simultaneously.
• Twenty million people are affected, including over 10 million children of which 2.8 million are under five.
• The WASH Cluster led by Unicef is collectively reaching over 6 million people with a combination of safe water supplies and water treatment for families. As part of this effort, some 2.5 million people are receiving safe water through Unicef.
• The Health Cluster with major support from Unicef reached half a million children under-five with polio immunisation and more than 420,000 children have been immunised against measles.
• Key nutrition supplies reaching over 375,000 children under-five and 50,400 pregnant and lactating women.
• 35,000 children have access to educational and recreational services and 26,000 children and women have received psycho-social support.
• Some 16,400 schools are affected and 1.8 million children are at risk of being unable to attend school.
Unicef’s revised funding requirement is US $252.3 million, with a remaining funding gap of US $160.8 million as of September 17.