Displaced children cook over an open fire near a camp in Sukkur City, Sindh Province. Flooding in 2010 from heavy monsoon rains affected 20 million people, an immense emergency in a country also coping with conflict and widespread poverty.
Children and Women in Crisis
Millions of children and women in Pakistan had their lives forever marked by flooding in July and August 2010, one of the worst natural disasters of the past decades in terms of the population, land area, number of households and social infrastructure affected. Unusually heavy monsoon rains that were part of an anomalous weather pattern across Asia caused the Indus River to overflow its banks, submerging one-fifth of Pakistan’s land area at the peak of the flooding.1 More than 20 million people were affected, 7 million lost their homes, and an entire agrarian economy and way of life was altered. Six million boys and girls were severely affected. This extreme emergency, however, was only the most visible of the humanitarian crises of 2010. In northern Pakistan, a landslide in January obliterated a village and dammed up the Hunza River, creating a lake that swallowed up the surrounding villages, affecting some 40,000 people. In north-western Pakistan, more than 1.2 million people remained displaced following the 2009–2010 conflict. Pakistani families are experiencing a bewildering array of humanitarian needs rooted in ongoing instability, temporary displacement and widespread poverty. The key challenges for mounting an effective humanitarian response include frequent population movements and an insufficient number of partners able to assist the most vulnerable populations.
Meeting Urgent Needs and Building Resilience in 2011
UNICEF is the cluster lead in WASH and nutrition, co-lead in education and lead of the child protection sub-cluster in Pakistan. In 2011, UNICEF will work with the Government of Pakistan, other UN agencies and NGOs to respond to the needs of over 18 million people, including 12 million children and 3.5 million women.
- To reduce vulnerability to waterborne diseases, access to safe water supplies will be provided for 5 million people in flood-affected areas and 920,000 affected by armed conflict. This initiative will include education on safe hygiene.
- More than 11 million children under age 5 at risk of contracting measles will be vaccinated, including over 2.5 million in flood-affected areas. Over 1 million pregnant and lactating women, and 320,000 newborn babies, will be reached with life-saving interventions and essential health services.
- The nutritional status of 1.2 million children 6–59 months old and 700,000 pregnant and lactating women will be protected through interventions including screening, blanket feeding and behaviour change messaging on infant feeding practices, sanitation and hygiene.
- Over 2 million children in flood-affected regions and 800,000 in conflict-affected districts will be provided with secure and stable educational opportunities through temporary learning centres, school rehabilitation, school supplies and teacher training.
- To protect their well-being and safety, 5.4 million flood-affected children and adolescents, and 120,000 women, will benefit from child protection services including child-friendly schools, reunification of separated and missing children, counselling and helplines. UNICEF will also distribute information on HIV transmission and prevention to 220,000 women of childbearing age.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2010
In 2010, UNICEF estimated that US$66,871,298 was needed to fund humanitarian work in Pakistan. As of October 2010, US$18,995,215 had been received, 28 per cent of the goal. Following the flooding, UNICEF requested an additional US$251 million.2 To respond to the flooding, UNICEF provided clean water to 2.8 million people daily and sanitation facilities to over 1.5 million. Measles and polio vaccines reached 9 million children. Nutrition support was extended to reach nearly 292,500 children and pregnant and lactating women. Over 143,516 chil-dren accessed education in 2,522 temporary learning centres, and 104,400 vulnerable children and women benefited from child-friendly spaces. In politically unstable north-western Pakistan, UNICEF provided safe drinking water to 500,000 people in camps and host communities (including 320,000 children) and to 1.5 million people (940,000 children) in areas of return. UNICEF is supporting 32 primary and 8 secondary schools for nearly 29,000 displaced children in IDP camps. In Hunza, UNICEF provided safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to over 19,000 people, including 10,000 children.
Funding Requirements for 2011
In 2011 UNICEF is requesting US$295,951,000 for Pakistan. This includes support to children and women in both flood- and conflict-affected regions.
1 United Nations Environment Programme, ‘Near Real-Time Environmental Event Alert: Pakistan’s flood of the century is a global disaster’, UNEP Global Environmental Alert Service, November 2010, p. 3.
2 This request was through the Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan, August 2010, revised in September 2010. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York, September 2010.