ISLAMABAD, 14 September 2011 – Vital emergency supplies, including hundreds of thousands of litres of clean water daily, are being rolled out to children and families left vulnerable by severe monsoon floods in southern Pakistan.
New heavy rains and persistent flood waters are contributing to a worsening disaster, with 5.4 million people now affected, including almost 2.7 million children. In Sindh, more than 300,000 people have left their flooded homes seeking higher ground. Many are now scattered across makeshift roadside camps, schools, or public buildings near their homes.
Among the most immediate needs are clean water, sanitation, health and nutrition. Children made vulnerable by displacement are at particular risk from diseases such as diarrhoea and measles, and many children are being affected by floods for a second time.
“UNICEF is already reaching children with clean water and vaccinations, but we need to scale up rapidly and do more – and do it quickly – by all possible means,” said UNICEF Pakistan Representative, Dan Rohrmann, who visited Badin District yesterday to witness the disaster first-hand.
UNICEF is delivering around 200,000 litres of water to an estimated 40,000 people each day. An additional 40 tankers will be deployed in the next few days, dramatically increasing the supply of clean drinking water to scattered families and helping to avoid the spread of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, that place children most at risk. UNICEF has also provided initial supplies of 50,000 water purification sachets.
UNICEF has already supported the distribution of almost 60,000 insecticide-treated bed nets to severely-affected families and partners will this week deliver a further 80,000 to provide increased protection for children. Mobile teams have vaccinated 100,000 children against measles and polio, while UNICEF has dispatched today basic medicines for up to 500,000 people along with 977 newborn kits.
“Building upon pre-positioned emergency supplies, UNICEF is scaling up its emergency response and will work closely with the Government and partners to ensure urgent coordinated assistance that targets the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children with all our efforts,” said Mr Rohrmann.
“Children from poor and vulnerable families are among the worst affected by the severe flooding and they need immediate help. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes, with little possibility of returning soon. There is minimal access to essential services, but emergency supplies are arriving and I have witnessed an incredible level of resilience,” concluded Mr Rohrmann.
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 more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Kristen Elsby, Chief of Advocacy & Communication, UNICEF Pakistan,
David Youngmeyer, Emergency Communication Specialist, UNICEF Pakistan,
A. Sami Malik, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Pakistan,