UNICEF/WFP chiefs call for renewed support to Pakistan’s flood victims
UNICEF + WFP JOINT NEWS RELEASE
ISLAMABAD/KUALA LUMPUR, 1 September 2010 – The Executive Directors of UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today called on the international community to step up their support for the victims of the ongoing floods in Pakistan.
Anthony Lake of UNICEF and Josette Sheeran of WFP made their call following a joint visit to operations in the Muzzafargarh district of Punjab, one of the worst affected parts of the country.
“There is a triple threat unfolding as this crisis widens and deepens,” said Ms. Sheeran. “People have lost seeds, crops and their incomes leaving them vulnerable to hunger, homelessness and desperation – the situation is extremely critical. We urgently need continued and strengthened commitment to the people of Pakistan in this time of crisis.”
While in the field, the two agency heads visited a school which has been turned into an emergency relief centre, where UNICEF hygiene kits were being handed out to families hit by the floods.
They also saw a WFP food distribution that included specialised ready-to-eat foods for infants and young children, designed to prevent the early ravages of malnutrition. WFP has reached three quarters of a million children with nutritious food supplements and nearly 3 million people with a one-month food ration. Malnutrition rates in the flood zone were high before the surge of water displaced millions, leaving young children even more at risk to water-borne diseases.
“What I saw today has convinced me that we must step up our humanitarian operations to stave off a potential second wave of disease and misery for millions of families, especially the most vulnerable, children and women,” said Mr. Lake. “We are here today and for the long-term, as we plan for the early recovery phase of the operation.”
UNICEF is currently reaching around two million people with clean water every day and through hygiene supplies and assistance in sanitation, is working to prevent serious outbreaks of disease.
While WFP and UNICEF are focused on saving lives as people continue to flee the floodwaters, both agencies have already begun projects to repair tube wells and other important infrastructure, as well as assisting farmers in their first efforts to return to their land and prepare the upcoming planting season.
In Malaysia, media groups Media Prima Berhad ("Media Prima") and the New Straits Times Press (M) ("NSTP") Berhad have recently initiated a joint appeal to raise funds for UNICEF's humanitarian operations in Pakistan to protect children who have lost homes, family members and schools in Pakistan’s deadly monsoonal floods.
According to UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Hans Olsen, UNICEF will use donations to protect Pakistan's children from malnutrition, hunger and deadly water-borne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery which can spread easily with stagnant and dirty water.
"These children can’t wait. We need to come to their assistance," appealed Mr. Olsen during the launch of the Fund. "We depend on lots of people around the world to be able to do this. I know that the Malaysian people will play their part," he added.
Individuals and organisations interested in making a donation can bank-in/transfer funds through Maybank account number 5142 7133 9000 under the name “Tabung Bantuan Bencana Pakistan”...............................................................................................
For more information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram
Op-Ed: Pakistan Floods
26 August 2010:
Why the world must help Pakistan
Map: Pakistan Floods
Newsline: Pakistan Floods