In A Second Wave of Fatalities, Children Will Be First Victims
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 19 October 2005 – UNICEF warned today that tens of thousands of children are in peril in remote earthquake-affected parts of Pakistan because of deteriorating weather, injury, and illness.
The agency said that immediate steps must be taken to boost the number of children being reached if a second wave of deaths is to be averted during the harsh winter months now arriving.
UNICEF said that as many as 120,000 children remain unreached in the mountains on the Pakistan side of the line of control, of whom the agency estimated some 10,000 could die of hunger, hypothermia and disease within the next few weeks.
“The relief effort is becoming more complex with each passing day,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, speaking from Copenhagen where she was visiting UNICEF’s global supply warehouse. “There are still too few helicopters to reach more than 1,000 remote villages with life-saving supplies that children urgently need. Where we do have supplies on the ground, we have too few humanitarian partners to deliver them to those most in need.”
“Temperatures have dropped and weather conditions are getting worse,” Veneman said. “Access to affected areas has been badly affected as roads have become clogged with mud and people fleeing the mountains with their injured. Tens of thousands of children are at risk.”
UNICEF said that in order to boost the relief effort and save lives, the following measures are urgently needed:
Veneman said that under current circumstances, even if tents and blankets were to arrive at each remote village immediately children would still be at serious risk due to a lack of medical assistance, de-hydration because of bad water, and malnutrition.
“There is a significant threat of disease, with outbreaks of diarrhea already,” she said. “Given the intermittent shut-downs of the air corridor because of bad weather, the consequences for sick and injured children could be grave.”
UN Humanitarian Coordinator Jan Egeland has stated that the relief effort goes beyond the capacity of any single government, and the World Health Organization has warned of outbreaks of disease because of foul water and unsanitary conditions.
What UNICEF Has Done So Far
UNICEF Actions in India
UNICEF’s appeal for $64.3 million forms part of the overall UN Flash Appeal. About a third on the UNICEF appeal has been funded so far.
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For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 157 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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Gordon Weiss, UNICEF Media / New York: (+1 212) 326 7426
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18 October 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Kun Li reports on the effort to treat children injured in the earthquake.