UNICEF warns that more than three million children are at risk due to heavy flooding in Pakistan

UNICEF warns that more than three million children are at risk due to heavy flooding in Pakistan


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Pakistan warned on Wednesday that more than three million children are at risk from the devastating floods that have hit Pakistan due to monsoon rains.

More than three million children are in need of humanitarian aid and are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the most severe flooding in Pakistan’s recent history. which is working with government and non-government partners to respond to the urgent needs of children and their families in affected areas.

Some 33 million people, including an estimated 16 million children, have been affected by this year’s heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan, which have caused flooding and landslides.

Also, more than 1,100 people, including more than 350 children, have lost their lives, while another 1,600 have been injured. More than 287,000 houses have been totally destroyed and 662,000 have suffered serious damage. Some major rivers and dams have burst their banks, destroying homes, farms, and critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and public health facilities.

“When such a disaster strikes, children are always among the most vulnerable,” said UNICEF Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil.

“These floods have already taken a devastating toll on children and families, and the situation could get even worse. UNICEF is working closely with the government and other partners to ensure affected children receive the critical support they need as soon as possible. soon as possible,” he added.

According to UNICEF, IN the affected areas, an estimated 30 percent of water systems have been damaged, further increasing the risk of disease outbreaks in people who resort to open defecation and drink unsafe water. .

There are also reports of significant damage to educational infrastructure, as 17,566 schools have been damaged or destroyed, putting children’s education “further” in jeopardy.

“After two years of school closures due to the pandemic in recent times, children are once again at risk of further disruptions to their learning, in areas where a third of children were no longer attending. to school before the crisis,” the agency said in a statement.

The rains, which have tripled and even quintupled in some provinces the national average of the last 30 years, have led the Government to declare a national emergency, with 72 districts declared in a state of calamity, mainly in Baluchistan and Sindh, the two provinces more affected, as well as in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

Cases of diarrhea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infections and skin diseases have already been reported. The humanitarian situation is expected to continue to worsen over the coming days and weeks as heavy rains continue in regions already under water.

Under the UN Flash Appeal to support the response, led by the Government of Pakistan and launched this week, UNICEF has requested $37 million (€36.8 million) to reach children and their families in the coming months with vital medical equipment –such as basic medicines, vaccines and aid kits–, supplies of drinking water and sanitation, and nutrition, and temporary schools and school supplies.

According to UNICEF’s Child Climate Risk Index (CCRI), Pakistan is a “climate hotspot” and a country where children are considered to be at “extremely high risk” to the impacts of climate change.

The country ranks 14th out of 163 countries and regions ranked by the CCRI, in the “Extremely High Risk” category. Children in such at-risk countries face a deadly combination of exposure to multiple climate and environmental shocks, along with high levels of underlying child vulnerability due to inadequate essential services, such as water and sanitation, health care and education. .

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Written by Editor TLN

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