Pakistan Needs Funds Now to Restore Children’s Education in Flooded Southwest
ISLAMABAD, 3 August 2007 – UNICEF is concerned that primary school education could become a casualty of the floods that have affected southwest Pakistan in the wake of cyclone Yemyin in late June.
The torrential rains have paid a heavy toll on educational facilities. Over 1,400 schools have been affected by the floods in Balochistan and Sindh, the two provinces hit by the disaster, and more than 200 schools have been washed away. Potentially, 67,300 primary school-going children will miss out on quality education when schools re-open in mid-August. In addition, about 139 school buildings in Balochistan and Sindh are being used as shelter for families that have lost their homes during the floods, potentially affecting about 7,000 students. Some villages are still under water.
“This is a pressing issue as the school year approaches and these schools are scheduled to re-open in mid-August,” says Martin Mogwanja, UNICEF Pakistan Representative. School enrolment rates in Balochistan and rural Sindh are the lowest in the country, particularly for girls - only one out of five girls goes to primary school in Balochistan. “We risk losing the already very few children that were enrolled in primary schools if we do not act now,” said Mogwanja.
On 18 July, the United Nations launched a Flash Appeal worth $38 million dollars to provide assistance to more than 370,000 people displaced by the floods and to restore vital services to up to 2.5 million people affected by the disaster. As part of this coordinated response, UNICEF appealed for $6.3 million. While water and sanitation interventions have been fully funded, restoring quality education for 20,000 children needs $872,000 and has only received $60,000 to date.
UNICEF is working with local education authorities to support the reopening of the schools on time for the start of the new school year. The agency has already distributed 80 school-in-the box kits for three months in Balochistan since school equipment has been washed away by the floods. Each kit comprises of learning and teaching material for 80 students and one teacher. In the coming weeks, UNICEF is planning to provide additional essential school supplies to ensure that all school children affected by the floods continue their education.
Depending on availability of funds, UNICEF and its partners are planning to provide 200 temporary shelters to 148 significantly damaged schools to ensure that 7,400 primary school children have access to a protective learning environment. The agency will also support the rehabilitation of 250 partially damaged schools.
“UNICEF needs the generosity and commitment of donors and partners to fulfil its responsibility towards the children affected by the floods,” said Mogwanja.