Map of South Asia
UNICEF photo © UNICEF Nepal/2015/CSKarki Child-friendly spaces were part of the immediate response to children affected by the Nepal earthquake.

South Asia

including Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Country Office 2015 Requirements: US$53,538,499

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Regional Office 2015 Requirements: US$2,700,000

South Asia is one of the most disaster-prone and conflict-affected regions in the world, with Afghanistan and India ranking in the top ten countries which experience the highest number of reported natural disasters per year1. The most common disasters in the region are floods, drought, landslides, avalanches and earthquakes. Floods, rain, heavy snow and avalanches affected 7,000 families in 22 provinces of Afghanistan in February 2015; 277,000 children and 113,000 pregnant and lactating women are severely affected by malnutrition due to the continuing drought in Sindh province in Pakistan; and the earthquake which struck Nepal on 25 April has severely affected 2.8 million people in 14 districts, of whom 1.1 million are children. In addition, South Asia also suffers the effects of protracted, internationalized and internal armed conflicts and almost half of all terrorist attacks worldwide2 occur in this region. The geographical features of South Asia provide a favourable environment which fosters insurgency, while economic and social factors, such as poverty, discrimination and poor governance, underline grievances that promote separatist movements, as well as ideological armed struggles. In 2015, despite the return of 170,000 families to the Government-declared safe areas in Pakistan, 1.6 million people still remain internally displaced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Afghanistan and the claimed presence of the Islamic State (IS) in scattered parts of the country have exacerbated Afghanistan’s already deteriorating security situation, which will have a direct impact on conflict dynamics in Pakistan and neighbouring countries. Children suffer the most from the devastating impacts of conflict, which include casualties, separation from family, denial of access to education and health facilities due to their refugee or internally displaced person (IDP) status, limited availability of food and micronutrients, and exposure to harsh climatic conditions as a result of lack of shelter. In addition to the psychological and emotional impacts of conflict on children, challenging living conditions render these children more vulnerable to disasters from natural hazards, such as earthquake, floods and droughts. Overall, the disaster trends and conflict dynamics in the region tend to cross borders, creating a sub-regional impact, which calls for UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) to develop a more strategic approach for assistance and collaboration, at the country interagency level, sub-regional and regional levels.

  • Regional Office

    Planned Results July to December 2015: During 2015, ROSA has been pursuing the action plan from last year’s Global Resilience Workshop, by initiating activities that aim to build the resilience of communities, especially those most vulnerable, to the devastating impact of conflicts and disasters. UNICEF is advocating for resilience-building, organizational and interagency capacities for risk-informed programming, with a stronger focus on conflict sensitivity and disaster risk reduction (DRR). At the policy level, a regional framework for child-centred disaster risk reduction will be developed with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), as well as the facilitation of policy dialogues and technical training on the use of child-centred risk assessments. Furthermore, ROSA is seen to respond to improving emergency preparedness and response through continuous training of staff and management in the country offices, as well as support for performance monitoring in humanitarian situations to ensure that commitments and benchmarks, as stipulated in the Core Commitments for Children (CCCs), are adhered to, both by UNICEF and its partners. For the remainder of the year, ROSA aims to achieve the following:

    • At least 40 UNICEF staff and emergency focal points from 8 country offices trained in emergency preparedness and response, and country office preparedness and business continuity plans tested through various simulations.
    • A regional framework and road map on child-centred disaster risk reduction developed with SAARC.
    • Performance monitoring in humanitarian situations internalized and practised in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
    • Increased technical capacity at the regional level to support resilience-building activities in all country offices.

    Results to date January – June 2015: ROSA was able to fully support the capacity needs of the Nepal Country Office in its response to the aftermath of the 25 April earthquake and was able to conduct its first regional training on child-centred disaster risk reduction with SAARC. Emergency preparedness and response trainings were conducted in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, benefiting at least 60 UNICEF staff, 30 government officials and 10 implementing partners. Through the technical capacity of the Regional Office, timely inputs were provided to support conflict analysis, disaster risk reduction strategies and contingency planning.

  • Pakistan

    Planned Results July to December 2015: For the remainder of 2015, UNICEF Pakistan will continue to support humanitarian assistance in coordination with the Government, other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, to assist millions of children and women affected by insecurity, drought, malnutrition and monsoonal floods. The focus of the emergency response will remain on life saving humanitarian assistance to displaced communities from the Federally Administered Tribal Agency (FATA) region amidst government resolve to facilitate the return of the majority of the internally displaced people to their places of origin. Due to the devastating consequences of drought in Sindh Province, programmatic requirements for nutrition have significantly increased, whilst the lower-than-expected return of IDPs to government-declared safe areas in early 2015 has reduced the need for other sectorial interventions such as WASH, education, child protection and health in the context of the complex emergency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

    Revised programme targets, due to the change in the humanitarian situation and caseload, are as follows:

    • 350,000 people will have access to life-saving interventions through activities such as the measles campaign and Mother and Child Days.
    • 161,211 children will be targeted for admission to therapeutic feeding programmes for management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
    • 388,800 people (including approximately 194,800 children) access sufficient water of appropriate quality and quantity for drinking, cooking and maintaining hygiene, with sanitation facilities and hygiene education.
    • 120,000 children and 30,000 women will have safe access to protective spaces and related services.
    • 87,000 children (45 per cent girls) will access quality education through safe and secure learning environments that promote the protection and well-being of learners.

    2014 Results to date January to June 2015: By the end of June, UNICEF had supported the provision of measles vaccinations, achieving over 100 per cent of the planned targets benefitting 180,815 children in emergency-affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. To prevent and respond to high levels of malnutrition, 56,310 (35 per cent of target) children under 5 were admitted to Outpatient Therapeutic Programmes (OTP) for treatment as of the end of June. To prevent water-related disease outbreaks, UNICEF provided safe drinking water to 60 per cent of the target population in emergency-affected areas. In education, UNICEF and its implementing partners supported 47,990 (55 per cent of target) children in accessing quality education through temporary learning centres and schools in IDP camps. Critical education supplies, including tents, school-in-a-box, school bags and training of teachers on improved teaching methods, supported children who had been enrolled in schools before being displaced, and also provided an opportunity for new students and those out-of-school children. Protective Learning and Community Emergency Services (PLaCES) centres were established and reached 109,650 (over 73 per cent of planned targets) children and their caregivers with protection, psychosocial support and recreational services, as well as life skills education.

    Pakistan Country Office Revised 2015 Funding Requirements

    UNICEF Pakistan has revised its funding requirement to US$53 million to support humanitarian action through to the end of 2015. As of 30 June, a total of US$19.5 million, or 37 per cent of the revised funding requirement, were available against the appeal. The current gap stands at US$33.5 million which is needed to cover critical emergency programme support in health, WASH, nutrition, education and child protection through to the end of 2015.

  • Sri Lanka

    Planned Results July to December 2015: Sri Lanka has been experiencing an increased frequency and intensity of floods and droughts during the last three years. In 2014, a total of 1.5 million people were affected by drought, of whom 768,000 were impacted by food insecurity and 60,000 were in need of safe drinking water. Out of 25 districts, 15 were severely affected by drought and there was an immediate need to respond to the dire water shortage situation, as well as the decreasing access to food and other nutritional needs of children and women. In the same year, flash floods led to a landslide in Uva province, where 1,875 people were affected. Many families were displaced and took refuge in schools, leading to disruption of schooling for the local children. Given the recurring nature of these disasters, UNICEF Sri Lanka anticipates a similar level of response with the following planned results for 2015:

    • 30,000 people in drought-affected districts access a sufficient quantity of safe drinking water in compliance with national standards.
    • 30,000 children in drought-affected districts are provided with therapeutic feeding to prevent malnutrition and benefit from improved infant and young child feeding practices.
    • At least 10,000 children affected by floods are able to continue their schooling through the establishment of temporary learning spaces.

    Results to date January – June 2015: So far there have been no emergencies, and thus the funds are currently being used for preparedness, particularly in capacity building and prepositioning, in the event of flooding and drought that may be experienced during the remainder of 2015.

Funding requirements

UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia is requesting a total of US$56.2 million for regional and country level activities in humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction for 2015, an increase of US$781,726 from the original HAC launched in January 2015. UNICEF Pakistan will require US$53 million to respond to the humanitarian needs of people affected by the rapidly shifting conflict and challenging security context in the country. These funds will cover UNICEF’s response to the complex emergencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA; the health and nutrition support to drought-affected communities in Sindh Province; and contingency planning. ROSA’s funding requirements include US$500,000 for UNICEF Sri Lanka to prepare for the recurrence of floods and drought, as well as US$2.7 million for emergency preparedness and response at the regional level.


1 Deberati Guha-Sapir, Philippe Hoyois and Regina Below. Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2013. Brussels: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2013.
2 Country Reports on Terrorism 2013, US Department of State - accessed 13 November 2014.