UNICEF sends in life-saving supplies to the millions of people affected by flooding, many of them children and women
GENEVA/ISLAMABAD, 3 August 2010 - UNICEF is sending in life-saving supplies to the millions of people hit by severe flooding in several provinces in northern Pakistan. The devastating floods are said to be the worst in the region for 80 years and have affected an estimated 3.2 million people including 1.4 million children.
"The biggest threats are the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera, especially deadly to children. We have already received reports of cases of diarrhoea amongst children. Food, clean drinking water, health supplies, high energy biscuits, clothing for women and children and vaccines, are needed urgently. We have already provided a first tranche of humanitarian supplies and will be bringing in more over the next days during this critical life-saving period", said Martin Mogwanja, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.
The flooding has caused widespread destruction of infrastructure with roads submerged and bridges swept away. Power lines are down and damage has been done to hospitals, schools and sanitation systems. In one district, UNICEF reported that 80 per cent of the drinking wells had been destroyed. Many families are camping out in schools and other building located on higher ground.
"There has been widespread damage to crops and loss of livestock. In a largely agricultural region, this is causing food scarcity now and will have negative implications for the future. We could be looking at a long-term humanitarian operation to first save lives and then assist with the recovery of those affected regions," said Mr. Mogwanja.
To date, UNICEF has provided hygiene kits, water tankers and high energy biscuits. It has repaired 73 tube wells benefitting 800,000 people and supported the setting up of 24 medical camps benefitting an estimated 1 million people.
'UNICEF is asking for $10.3 million for the immediate needs of the affected populations. These figures will continue to be revised according to information coming in from ongoing assessments and will also be reflected in inter-agency response plans.'