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Millions still affected by floods in South Asia

NEW DELHI, 21 September 2007 – Almost three months after rains began, millions of people across Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan are still affected by the flooding and landslides.

Throughout the region, UNICEF and partners have been working to prevent outbreaks of diseases, addressing the health and nutritional status of women and children and making every effort to get children back into school.

India
According to the Government, 2,614 people have died and 48 million are affected; the majority in Assam and Bihar which have seen renewed flooding in the last two weeks.

In Bihar, the state hardest hit by the flooding, the state cabinet has sanctioned $250 million to compensate flood victims. UNICEF, with Government support, is setting up 50 Maternity Health camps, two Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres to treat severely malnourished children, and more than 265 Alternative Learning Spaces (ALS) to address the learning needs of 60,000 students.

Across other affected districts, UNICEF is working with partners to provide emergency medical care, water purification agents, communication messages about safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and working with education authorities to reopen schools or set up ALS.

More than 600,000 people, including children and women, have been treated by the fixed and mobile medical teams fanning across India.

Bangladesh
Bangladesh is recovering from a second wave of flooding. Till date 946 people have died and approximately 13.3 million have been affected. Although flooding has stopped and the overall situation is now improving, water levels are taking longer than expected to recede.

UNICEF and other UN agencies have completed a Rapid Needs Assessment (RENA) across the worst affected zones.

UNICEF has procured 380 metric tonnes of fortified biscuits of which 114 metric tonnes have already been distributed. Also, 400,000 bags of Intravenous Solutions (IV) and essential drugs have been procured while 9,000 family kits, 5,500 recreational kits, 1500 emergency education kits and 47,000 plastic sheets have been distributed. 

A multi-agency partnership, including UNICEF, Save the Children Australia, and NGO partners, is mobilizing Child Protection Teams to create recreation centres for children in the flood-affected districts. These recreation centres will provide children a safe place to play, while their families are out collecting relief. These teams will also identify and report protection issues to appropriate authorities.

Nepal
According to the Nepal Red Cross Society, 185 people have died and approximately 580,200 people are still affected by the monsoonal flooding and landslides.

So far, UNICEF has provided non-food items to about 12,000 families. These include 61,000 ORS sachets and 15,000 hygiene kits and additional water purification agents for 100,000 people.

UNICEF, along with the UN Mission to Nepal (UNMIN), has also provided 3,800 bottles of water purification agents to combatants of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the UNMIN-monitored cantonments. 

Also in process is the distribution of 40,000 medicated bed nets in three districts; rehabilitation of 45-60 damaged water supply schemes in 24 districts; and distribution of 300 school kits and 20,000 children’s school kits in the affected districts. UNICEF is also supporting the ongoing training of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) in seven districts – who would then target 120,000 households with a campaign on hand washing with soap, and the distribution of water purification agents. 

Pakistan
In Pakistan about 2.5 million people in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh have been affected by torrential rain provoked by hurricane Yemyin and subsequent floods in late June and early July. While the water levels have receded in most areas, vast zones of three districts are still under water. Till date there have been 420 deaths and more than 377,000 people are still unable to return to their damaged homes.

UNICEF continues to work with partners to provide safe drinking water and essential medical supplies, to support the education system, and to assist the most vulnerable children and women.

The agency has been supporting the provision of safe drinking water for more than 227,000 people, supported the measles vaccination of about 224,000 children, and supplied 153 School in a Box kits, 96 tarpaulin rolls and 125 recreation kits.

UNICEF is also supporting the establishment of 80 mobile child protection teams and 40 child and women friendly spaces to protect 300,000 vulnerable girls, boys, women and their families and the nutritional screening and provision of fortified food for about 3,000 malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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 further information, please contact:
Katey Grusovin, UNICEF South Asia Media Hub, 91 11 24606247, kgrusovin@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media New York, 1212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Rafael Hermoso, UNICEF Media New York, 1212 326 7516, rhermoso@unicef.org
Véronique Taveau, UNICEF Media Geneva, 41 22 909 5716 vtaveau@unicef.org


 

 

 

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21 September 2007:
UNICEF’s Roshni Karwal reports on the ongoing floods which are devastating parts of Bangladesh.
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