UNICEF warm clothing for children delivered in Suddhan gali
By Kitty Logan and Kun Li
SUDHAN GALI, Pakistan, 9 December 2005 – The Himalayan winter is descending on Pakistan-administered Kashmir. For children who survived October’s earthquake that now means an uphill battle for survival in the freezing cold temperatures.
The earthquake has left tens of thousands of children without any warm clothing, living in tents, and shelters made of cardboard and stones. The first snows have already fallen, and the temperature drops below zero Centigrade every night.
Children living at high altitudes are particularly at risk of illnesses such as acute respiratory infections. Keeping them warm and dry is crucial.
To save children’s lives UNICEF has started delivering more than 50,000 ‘warm clothing kits’ specially packed for children. Each kit contains a padded jacket, a hat or shawl, socks and snow boots – sorted by size – for girls and boys of different ages.
Many children across the quake zone, such as those in Sudhan Gali village – which lies at an altitude of more than 2,000 metres – can already be seen wearing their brand new winter gear. A warm jacket and brightly-coloured boots are not only vital for their survival, but also boosts children’s psychological well-being.
UNICEF child protection officer Mannan Raha is on the ground to assist the distribution process, witnessing firsthand the joy of children who have suffered so much receiving their kits.
“People have lost warm clothing, housing, food and utensils, and that could have affected children – who are the most vulnerable. That’s why UNICEF decided to distribute [kits] at the high altitudes. Last year there was about 12 feet of snow in this area.”
This is the first time these children have received aid targeted specifically for them. UNICEF is rushing to distribute anther 100,000 more kits before the next snowfall arrives.