KARACHI, Pakistan, 12 August 2010 – As the worst natural disaster in living memory continues to unfold in Pakistan, a chartered airliner carrying 100 metric tonnes of UNICEF emergency relief arrived in the southern port city of Karachi early today. The shipment includes health kits, nutrition supplies, midwifery kits and tarpaulins for families affected by weeks of monsoon rains and flooding around the country.
|VIDEO: 12 August 2010 - UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on the arrival of emergency supplies bound for flood victims in Pakistan.|
Some of these supplies will be dispatched to the worst affected areas of Sindh Province in southern Pakistan, while the rest will be moved to other parts of the county – all with an emphasis on reaching women and children in dire need.
“UNICEF’s main supply warehouse in Copenhagen has sent these items to support our ongoing relief activities in the flood-affected areas,” said the head of the UNICEF Field Office in Sindh, Andro Shilakadze.
“This is the first major shipment of emergency supplies and we expect more to arrive in the coming days,” added Mr. Shilakadze. “Since our pre-positioned supplies in one of the major warehouses were washed out by floods, supplies received today were urgently needed.”
Aid from Afghanistan
The Government of Afghanistan, with UNICEF’s help, has also sent aid to its flood-stricken neighbours in Pakistan. Some 40 tonnes of UNICEF supplies – including high-energy biscuits and oral rehydration salts (used to prevent diarrhoeal dehydration) – have been delivered from Afghanistan for distribution to affected communities around Pakistan.
|© UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Sami|
|At Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, an operations staffer checks inventory of 100 metric tonnes of emergency supplies sent from UNICEF's main warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, bound for Pakistan flood victims.|
The aid given to Pakistan will not compromise UNICEF’s ability to respond to emergencies in Afghanistan, noted UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan Peter Crowley.
“We have been careful to make sure we have enough stock here to be able to cover potential needs in Afghanistan,” explained Mr. Crowley. “We have enough stock and supplies on the way to Afghanistan within the next few weeks. We are confident of covering needs here and offering support to our colleagues in Pakistan.”
Supplies urgently needed
UNICEF estimates that 6 million children have been affected by the floods in Pakistan and that some 2.7 million of them need immediate, life-saving assistance.
|© UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Sami|
|UNICEF relief supplies are offloaded from a chartered cargo plane in Karachi for immediate distribution to women and children in areas hit hard by the Pakistan flood crisis.|
According to UN estimates, a total of 14 million people have been affected by the floods. Hundreds of thousands have received humanitarian aid, but millions more urgently need shelter, food, water, and health care. And the number affected could rise further in the coming days.
As part of the inter-agency crisis response by the Government of Pakistan, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, UNICEF is leading joint efforts in two critical areas: water and sanitation, and nutrition. It is also working with partners on child protection and education.
Protection and support
If humanitarian assistance for safe water, health and hygiene is not provided soon enough, there could be a second wave of deaths caused by waterborne diseases in the flood zone. A food crisis is also possible without adequate nutrition aid.
|© UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Zak|
|A woman reads an educational brochure during a health and hygiene education session at a school in north-western Pakistan, where waterborne diseases pose a threat, especially to children, as a result of flooding.|
Over the longer term, it will be necessary to assist agricultural communities in rebuilding their livelihoods, as field crops have been destroyed by the floods in many areas.
Nearly 60 percent of the affected population are women and children, who are especially vulnerable to abuse or exploitation in crisis conditions and, therefore, need protection and psycho-social support. There is an urgent need to provide child-friendly spaces, recreation and emergency education to children in camps for the displaced, as well as shelter arrangements for orphans and children who have been separated from their families.
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