GENEVA, 16 April 2010 – A severe lack of funding for UNICEF in Pakistan may result in more than 19,000 children displaced by insecurity in north-western Pakistan being deprived of education. UNICEF has received only 6 per cent of the US $1.4 million dollars it requested in order to ensure that children of primary school age living in camps for displaced people, both boys and girls, have the chance to complete their schooling.
“If we do not receive funds urgently, about 19,000 children in camps, who have already faced trauma, fear and displacement, will not be able to continue their education after the end of April”, said Pirkko Heinonen, the UNICEF acting Deputy Representative for Pakistan. ”At present we only have funding to support primary schools in one camp, in Jalozai, benefiting 5,000 children, till the end of the year”
Over 1.3 million people are currently displaced by insecurity in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Since October 2009, a million people have arrived from South Waziristan, Orakzai and other tribal areas. About 125,000 displaced people live in camps, including 106,000 in Jalozai Camp alone, but the majority have taken shelter in impoverished host communities.
About 60 per cent of those displaced are estimated to be children, and need urgent health and nutrition, access to education and protection services and a hygienic environment. They come from some of Pakistan’s most disadvantaged areas: in FATA, only 7 per cent of adult women are literate and 17 per cent of girls are in primary school. With insecurity and displacement, even more children risk falling out of education.
To date, UNICEF has received less than a third of the US$ 58 million requested, as part of a joint Pakistan Humanitarian appeal, to support children affected by the conflict. Without prompt funding, UNICEF will no longer be able to sustain vital initiatives to bring children to school, provide clean water and protect them from the effects of poor nutrition.
“Last year, UNICEF’s request to the international community to assist our efforts to support nearly three million displaced people received a generous response,” said Ms Heinonen. “But we are in need of urgent funds this year to continue supporting these children from FATA as they are displaced and return home. Only then we can ensure that despite this difficult situation, children affected by the crisis in Pakistan have the chance to live healthy, fulfilling lives.”
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.
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