Map of South Asia
UNICEF photo: Displaced girls play with blocks at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space in Jalala Camp in Mardan District, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). © UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0529/Marta Ramoneda Displaced girls play with blocks at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space in Jalala Camp in Mardan District, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

South Asia

Updated January 2014

Regional Office 2014 Requirements: US$3,700,000

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In 2012, the continent of Asia was hit by the largest share of natural disasters in the world (40.7 per cent), followed by North and South America (22.2 per cent), Europe (18.3 per cent), Africa (15.7 per cent) and Oceania (3.1 per cent).1 The number of victims in Asia in 2012 (80.3 million) was, however, far below the 2002-2011 average (232 million).2 While consolidated data for 2013 was not available before publication, South Asia is likely to remain the world region most prone to disaster impacts. South Asia’s two most populous countries, India and Pakistan, have experienced devastating floods and earthquakes. A flash flood event in India’s Uttarakhand State in June 2013 cost at least 5,000 lives and affected more than 2 million people.3 In neighbouring Pakistan, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter magnitude scale struck Balochistan province on 24 September 2013, killing 386 people, injuring 816 and affecting more than 185,000.4 In addition to natural hazards, parts of South Asia continued to be affected by conflict. In Afghanistan, the conflict between anti-government elements and the Afghan and international armed forces has displaced 612,000, including an additional 64,000 people in 2013 alone.5 The first half of 2013 saw a 47 per cent increase in security incidents and a 24 per cent increase in civilian casualties.6 It is expected that the announced draw down of international military forces in 2014 will have negative socio-economic impacts and further destabilizing effects. In Pakistan, although more than 1.4 million people have returned to their homes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) since 2009, including over 102,000 in 2013, 1 million people are still displaced in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).7 The first phase of facilitated returns to the Tirah Valley in FATA concluded in early November 2013, with nearly 31,000 registered internally displaced persons (6,187 families) supported to return home, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) and the FATA Disaster Management Authority. The returnees represent 39 per cent of the 80,000 registered people displaced from Tirah Valley earlier this year due to increased hostilities between rival armed groups and security forces. The next phase of returns is scheduled for March 2014.8 The use of unmanned drones by the United States forces in strikes against suspected militants in FATA has led to allegations of disproportionate civilian casualties and other concerns, according to United Nations investigators.9

Regional Office - Planned results for 2014

Results from 2013

UNICEF appealed for US$4,910,000 for 2013, and as of 31 October 2013, a total of US$1,273,041, or 26 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. ROSA monitored early warning analyses conducted by country offices and provided additional regional-level early warning analysis. Prior to the regional monsoon and typhoon seasons, a short self-assessment checklist was provided to all countries to evaluate their preparedness levels and gaps. At a regional workshop, the technical capacity of over 30 UNICEF staff members in South Asia was developed on risk-informed programming (i.e. programming that is informed by disaster risk, climate change and conflict analysis). ROSA also developed guidance on how to better link the organization’s work on strengthening results-based monitoring to higher-frequency monitoring in humanitarian situations. Seventy-nine staff members from 18 country offices in Asia and the Pacific were oriented on basics of humanitarian performance monitoring and key preparedness actions, with specific technical support provided to the Afghanistan and Pakistan Country Offices. ROSA provided direct surge support to the Pakistan Country Office for the displacement emergency in FATA and KP in January and May and for the earthquake response in Balochistan in October. The capacity of 20 RedR Australia standby partner staff members was developed on UNICEF emergency preparedness and response systems at in-country workshops in May 2013. Emergency preparedness and response trainings and simulations were also delivered to over 100 staff members in Nepal and Bangladesh. ROSA and the UNICEF Office for Emergency Programmes led the preparation of a UNICEF contingency plan for Afghanistan, including at a high-level meeting at headquarters. Finally, ROSA reviewed UNICEF emergency appeals and components of inter-agency appeals.

To enhance disaster risk mitigation, preparation and emergency response strategies and capacities in South Asia between 2014 and 2017, and given the region’s high vulnerability to natural hazards and conflicts, the Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) will further strengthen the capacity of UNICEF country offices by integrating resilience into its country programming. Towards this end, in February 2014, ROSA will host UNICEF’s second global consultation on resilience, which will benefit from the South Asian experience. ROSA will also continue to build emergency preparedness by rolling out the global emergency preparedness and response training package and by providing specific training and remote support in these areas. ROSA will also contribute to further organizational policy development and operational approaches to programming in high-risk environments. Partnerships with regional institutions, including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), will be strengthened, specifically in the area of disaster risk management. ROSA will also channel specific contributions received for countries that do not have a separate appeal in Humanitarian Action for Children 2014. In the case of a small- or medium-scale emergency in these countries, national authorities that welcome international support in specific response sectors may not want to prioritize inter-agency appeals. This approach will provide an avenue for funding and technical assistance in these places.

Pakistan - Planned results for 2014

Results from 2013

The early recovery phase following the 2012 floods concluded in March 2013. An inter-agency humanitarian response plan for the displacement crisis in FATA and KP (including early recovery at return sites) was developed in January 2013 and was revised upward in May 2013 to cover the needs of the newly displaced people from Tirah valley (Khyber Agency) and existing internally displaced persons. UNICEF appealed for US$48.9 million in 2013, and as of 31 October 2013, a total of US$34,913,340, or 71 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. By the end of October 2013, UNICEF had supported the provision of measles vaccinations to 153,639 children in accessible emergency-affected areas. Targets for measles in flood-affected areas were surpassed as immunizations were expanded to cover people who were not displaced, though funding gaps limited vaccinations in the displacement response in FATA and KP. To prevent and respond to high levels of malnutrition, 86,960 children under 5 were admitted to outpatient therapeutic programmes. The targets for micronutrient supplementation were revised upwards to cover the additional needs that arose from the influx of new internally displaced persons and returnees in 2013. Underachievement on infant and young child feeding was due to overly ambitious targeting. The target was later reduced to make it more realistic and achievable. UNICEF targets for the displacement crisis were also reduced due to funding constraints. To prevent water-related disease outbreaks, UNICEF and partners provided safe drinking water for daily use to 930,000 of the nearly 1.6 million people in emergency-affected areas accessible to the cluster. In 2013, with UNICEF and cluster partners' support, 95,556 children (42 per cent girls) were enrolled in temporary learning centres. UNICEF’s contribution included approximately 84,000 schoolchildren. In addition, through Protective Learning and Community Emergency Services (PLaCES) centres, 91,957 children (43 per cent girls), including the more than 84,000 supported by UNICEF, were reached with protection, psychosocial support and recreation services, as well as life skills education.

In 2014, UNICEF plans to support humanitarian assistance in coordination with the Government of Pakistan, other United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, to respond to the needs of the millions of children and women affected by insecurity, and to prepare for the monsoon floods. The emergency focus on internally displaced persons in FATA and KP will continue into 2014, and UNICEF will extend support to refugee populations from Afghanistan if required. Programme targets for 2014 are as follows:

  • 170,000 children and women will access life-saving interventions through activities like measles campaign and child health days
  • 16,709 will be targeted for admission to therapeutic feeding programmes for management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM)
  • 1,471,000 people (including approximately 618,000 children) access sufficient water of appropriate quality and quantity for drinking, cooking and maintaining hygiene, with sanitation facilities and hygiene education
  • UNICEF will facilitate safe access to protective spaces and related services for 101,000 children and 38,000 women
  • 59,000 children (52 per cent girls) will access quality education through safe and secure learning environments that promote protection and well-being of learners

Funding requirements

In order to carry out its planned regional emergency support function in 2014, ROSA is requesting US$39,993,213 from donors. This includes US$200,000 for regional technical support and US$3.5 million for countries that are not included in a separate chapter of Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 and/or may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals to respond to small- or medium-scale emergencies. In addition, US$36,233,213 will be needed to achieve humanitarian programme results in Pakistan in 2014. These funds will cover emergency preparedness, disaster risk reduction and cluster and programme support in WASH, nutrition, education and child protection. Adequate funding will enable ROSA to deliver on its full range of support under the UNICEF Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action.

1 Universite Catholique de Louvain, ‘Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2012’, August 2013.
2 Universite Catholique de Louvain, ‘Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2012’, August 2013.
3 United States Agency for International Development, ‘Disaster Data: A balanced perspective’, CRED Crunch, no. 33, November 2013.
4 National Disaster Management Authority, ‘Awaran Earthquake Balochistan – Sitrep 27 – Dated 23 October 2013’, October 2013
5 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Bulletin Afghanistan’, no. 21, 01-31 October 2013.
6 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Bulletin Afghanistan’, no. 21, 01-31 October 2013
7 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Bulletin Pakistan’, no. 19, 16 September – 15 October 2013.
8 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Bulletin Pakistan’, no. 20, 16 October – 15 November 2013.
9 ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism,’ United Nations General Assembly, <>, accessed 16 December 2013.