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160 children document their surroundings after their villages were destroyed one year ago

One Year on: Pakistan Earthquake – the Children’s View

NEW YORK, 5 October 2006 – UNICEF today launched an exhibition of children’s photos in New York to mark the one year anniversary of the earthquake which killed over 70,000 people in Pakistan.

The photographs were taken by 160 children from the region to document their lives following the disaster. Called EYE SEE II, the project was conceived to empower children who have returned to their villages.

“Thousands of children were impacted by the earthquake,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “This project has given children an opportunity to show us through photographs their experience of the earthquake and the impact it has had on their lives.”

Through the images, the children illustrated what they saw as the most important daily activities in their return to some semblance of normality. “Women of all houses daily go to fetch water. I saw my neighbor going to collect water and I took her photograph,” wrote one young participant.

The selected images that go on display today were chosen by an advisory board of world class photographers from Pakistan and abroad. In written reviews of the photos, the experts were stunned at the professionalism and creativity considering this was the first time most of the children had ever held a camera.

“These children, the survivors of the earthquake, are not only living through the long healing process, but have now been able to share some of that through photography,” said Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and advisory board member John Moore. “Through the photographs, you can see their desire to return to a normal life, to recover what was lost, while still amidst the rubble of their communities.”

The children used digital cameras and technology donated by Sony Corporation. Working in pairs, they were encouraged to use newly-acquired team-building and negotiation skills to document and communicate their experiences and needs as they settled back into their villages.

The children’s final images have been used to form online photos essays and exhibitions on four continents – in Islamabad, Rome, London, New York, and Tokyo.

The project has received financial support from the UNICEF Italian National Committee. UNICEF Change for Good partner British Airways donated cargo space for the exhibit to travel to New York and London.

The October 2005 earthquake was dubbed as the “children’s catastrophe” because of the large numbers of child deaths and injuries – and because the tremor struck as children were sitting in their classrooms. About 18,000 children died and 10,000 were disabled. In addition, 7,669 educational institutions out of 11,456 (67 per cent) were fully or partially damaged, and 388 health facilities were destroyed.

As a key partner of the Government of Pakistan, UNICEF is playing a leading role in the country’s long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation programme. UNICEF has pledged to rebuild 500 schools and support the training of 20,000 primary school teachers. Several damaged water systems have been rehabilitated with UNICEF assistance. Other projects worth millions of dollars are underway in the child protection and health sectors.


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About UNICEF
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, 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.

For more information:
Michael Bociurkiw: 250 893 1458 mbociurkiw@unicef.org
Gordon Weiss: 917 498 4083 gweiss@unicef.org


 

 

 

Video


6 October 2006:
Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, thanks UNICEF for saving countless lives in its rapid emergency response after the 2005 earthquake.
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6 October 2006:
At the exhibition of children’s photos in New York, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman recalls the devastation she witnessed in the quake zone.
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4 October 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on UNICEF’s ‘Eye See II’ photo project for children who survived Pakistan’s devastating 2005 earthquake.
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