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With Euros 4 million from the EU, UNICEF works to protect 82,500 children affected by conflict from water and sanitation diseases

ISLAMABAD, 25 January 2010 – The European Union’s humanitarian aid department, ECHO, has contributed €4 million (US$ 5.6 million) to UNICEF Pakistan, to support humanitarian work in areas affected by conflict in NWFP and FATA. The funds will be used to support improved access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for an estimated 1.49 million people, including 82,500 school-going children that are returning to or remained in the crises affected areas.

“Diarrhoea alone kills 120 Pakistani children every day,” says Martin Mogwanja, the UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “Improving sanitation and safe water to ensure that such diseases don’t increase and affect even more children in NWFP and FATA is a vital part of recovery and an investment in the future of these areas.” Even before the conflict began, only a quarter of rural households in FATA and half in NWFP had access to safe sanitation.

From 2008, operations of the security forces against militants displaced an estimated 3 million people from NWFP and FATA. About 60 per cent of those displaced were children, and those who stayed behind faced months of uncertainty without basic services or adequate food. As people begin to return to areas where peace is being restored, the humanitarian community is expanding its focus to ensure that people in affected areas can rebuild their lives in a supportive, healthy environment. UNICEF is working with the government and other partners in the Water and Sanitation Cluster to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, which are worsened by lack of safe water and inadequate sanitation.

As the humanitarian aid department of the European Union, ECHO’s assistance to countries affected by emergencies is based on the principals of non-discrimination and impartiality. In 2009, ECHO contributed € 2 million (US$ 2.9 million) to UNICEF activities related to water, sanitation and hygiene, benefiting 97,400 IDPs including 45,000 children. 

“Restoring infrastructure and building the capacity of the government and communities to sustain access to water and sanitation services is essential to ensure that returning populations can realise their rights to water and sanitation and are less vulnerable to the spread of preventable diseases such as diarrhoea which can take a heavy toll amongst children,” says Martin Mogwanja.“It is thanks to the generous support of the Governments and peoples of the European Union that UNICEF can ensure that improved health and hygiene facilities exist for Pakistani children who have faced such upheavals in their lives.”

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UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. In Pakistan, it works with the government, NGOs and other partners to support 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. It has provided vital relief and reconstruction support to help individuals rebuild their lives after emergencies, such as the October 2005 earthquake. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information contact UNICEF's Communication Officer: A.Sami Malik, UNICEF Islamabad, Mobile: 0300-8556654, asmalik@unicef.org
www.unicef.org/pakistan

 

 

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