29 July 2011 A year after devastating monsoon floods hit Pakistan, for which the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched one of its largest operations, the agency today reported it faces a shortfall of more than $50 million to meet the continuing critical needs of the country’s children.
The agency said it continues to provide assistance to the victims of the floods that submerging almost one-fifth of the country, disrupted the lives of some 20 million people, claimed 2,000 lives and destroyed 1.6 million homes across the provinces of Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.
UNICEF said it had provided clean drinking water daily to 5.1 million people; vaccinated 11.7 million children for polio and 10.4 million children for measles; screened over two million children under five for malnutrition; established temporary learning centres for almost 300,000 children; supported child-friendly spaces for close to 400,000 children; and provided 761,000 children with school supplies to allow them to continue their education and recover more quickly from the disaster.
“The impact of the floods will continue to be felt for years to come, especially by children who are the most vulnerable to the impacts of disaster,” the agency said. “When displaced children and their families returned to their areas of origin, they found homes, livelihoods, and infrastructure – including health facilities and almost 10,000 schools – damaged or destroyed.”
“The floods also exposed an existing tragedy of chronic malnutrition, unhealthy sanitation practices, low primary school enrolment, especially for girls, and child protection issues,” UNICEF said. “New and continued assistance is required to ensure that flood-affected children and families do not enter a downward spiral of increasing vulnerability.”
“If children remain untreated for malnutrition, for example, they are more susceptible to disease as well as life-long stunting and cognitive impairment.”
According to the agency’s press statement, “UNICEF faces a shortfall of almost $50 million to meet the critical early recovery needs of flood-affected children and families. The major areas of under-funding are in water, sanitation and hygiene, education, and health.”
In addition, $6.2 million is needed for nutrition interventions due to the continued humanitarian levels of malnutrition.
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