25 November 2011 More than five million Pakistanis are now estimated to require humanitarian assistance as a result of this year’s floods, and almost half of those in need are children, United Nations aid agencies reported today.
A just completed joint assessment by the UN and Government has found that the five million in need are mainly in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, with 25 per cent of them women and 50 per cent children.
Almost 800,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged in the floods, which began in August, and nearly 750,000 people were still displaced at the end of October.
Gaëlle Sévenier, a spokesperson for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), told reporters in Geneva that the agency has so far distributed food rations to more than 2.9 million people and requires another $70 million out of the $133 million it originally requested to finance its operations.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that about one third of affected villages were still under water, and a large number of water sources were also contaminated.
UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said the most urgent risks to children are those related to safe water and malnutrition, with malnutrition rates in the affected areas already found to be high before the floods began.
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