UNICEF emergency aid arrives in Pakistan amidst continuing flood crisis
KUALA LUMPUR/KARACHI, 15 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 last Thursday.
The shipment included health kits, nutrition supplies, midwifery kits and tarpaulins for families affected by weeks of monsoon rains and flooding around the country. 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. “Since our pre-positioned supplies in one of the major warehouses were washed out by floods, these supplies were urgently needed.”
A second wave of deaths
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 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. Vulnerable to abuse or exploitation in crisis conditions, these children will also need protection and psycho-social support.
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.
Aid from a neighbour
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.
“We have been careful to make sure we have enough stock here to be able to cover potential needs in Afghanistan,” explained UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan Peter 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.”
As part of the inter-agency crisis response by the Government of Pakistan, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, 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.
Newsline: Pakistan Floods