Unicef reports increased child polio cases in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, October 20, 2010: There has been a surge in the number of child polio cases reported in Pakistan this year, despite massive immunization campaigns that reached nearly 9 million children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) reported.
As of October 14, 78 cases of polio had been reported, up 26 per cent from last year.
Pakistan is one of four countries, along with Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic.
As winter looms, Unicef said it will provide families with clothing and hygiene supplies, and will also pre-position therapeutic feeding supplies and health kits, including obstetric materials.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 530,000 people affected by deadly floods in Pakistan have received winter wheat seeds and fertilizer, while nearly 170,000 have received livestock assistance.
In September and October, almost 9 million people received food rations, with high-energy biscuits and other food having been provided for some 2 million children.
OCHA also said that essential medicines for more than 5 million people have been provided since the start of the international response to help Pakistan, where the flooding has affected more than 20 million people and left 14 million in need of immediate relief.
An area the size of the Netherlands has been ravaged by floods, with more than 2 million hectares of crops lost. Nearly 2 million homes have been destroyed or damaged by the waters, leaving at least 7 million without shelter.
Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a generous and swift international response, with the $2 billion appeal to help Pakistani flood victims -- the largest-ever launched by the UN and its partners for a natural disaster -- is just one-third funded.