Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Due to the devastating climate-induced flooding, a protracted nutrition emergency and other recurrent health and food crises, women and children in Pakistan require urgent assistance. The humanitarian situation has deteriorated significantly due to widespread flooding affecting 33 million people, of whom 20.6 million (including 9.6 million children) need humanitarian assistance.
- Widespread stagnant floodwaters, damaged water and sanitation facilities, and large-scale displacements increase the risk of new outbreaks of water- and vector-borne diseases and respiratory illnesses, especially among children. With winter approaching, the vulnerabilities of the flood-affected people are further heightened.
- UNICEF will continue to support the Government in responding to significant humanitarian needs, providing health, nutrition, WASH, education, child protection, and gender-based violence services at scale. Across all sectors, UNICEF will also strengthen national and local capacities for climate resilience and emergency preparedness.
- UNICEF has revised its requirements totaling US$173.5 million for 2022 and 2023 to provide life-saving responses to the most vulnerable people affected by floods, including children.
Key planned results for 2022-2023
1.6 million children aged 6 to 59 months with severe wasting admitted for treatment
3.2 million children and women accessing primary healthcare
2.4 million people reached with critical WASH supplies
383,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2022-2023
Country needs and strategy
The humanitarian situation in Pakistan has deteriorated over the past months due to unprecedented flooding, impacting an already highly vulnerable population. Compounded by the political volatility, economic deterioration, the residual impact of COVID-19, and the protracted nutrition emergency characterized by high rates of wasting (which is on average 23 per cent in the districts most affected by floods), children are being pushed to the brink.
Pakistan has been impacted by severe monsoon weather. The rainfall was equivalent to nearly 2.9 times the national 30-year average, causing widespread flooding and landslides with severe repercussions for human lives, property, and infrastructure. An estimated 20.6 million people, including 9.6 million children, need humanitarian assistance due to the floods. To date, 84 districts have been declared ‘calamity hit’ by the Government. Many of the hardest-hit districts are amongst the most vulnerable districts in Pakistan, where children already suffer from high wasting rates (which may worsen), poor access to water and sanitation, low school enrollment, and other deprivations. Some of these same districts also host over 800,000 refugees from Afghanistan, and there are at least 7.9 million people who have been displaced, of whom some 598,000 are living in relief camps.
Damage to public and communal water supply systems and sanitation facilities has resulted in 6.3 million people in need of immediate WASH services, forcing children and families to drink contaminated water and exposing them to the threat of water- and vector-borne diseases; such as cholera, diarrhea, dengue, and malaria. Nearly 1.6 million children are estimated to be in need of treatment for severe wasting. Access to healthcare has been reduced due to infrastructure damage in health facilities, loss of essential medicines, and cold storage capacity. More than 25,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed. In addition, at least 7,062 schools in flood-hit areas are being used as shelters for displaced people, further limiting access to learning. With winter approaching, flood-affected people are vulnerable to winter conditions, including those who have been displaced and people returning to damaged houses.
Children are vulnerable to protection risks, including abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, gender-based violence, and psychosocial distress. Children with disabilities may experience increased vulnerability due to disrupted access to essential services, including health and nutrition, education, and child protection. There is also the risk of harmful practices like child marriage and child labour.
UNICEF is expanding its humanitarian priorities to scale up its response to the floods, and is targeting nearly 6.4 million people, including nearly 4.4 million children, with critical life-saving interventions which are aligned to the Interagency 2022 Flood Response Plan and sector priorities therein. UNICEF will reach the most vulnerable children and women with an integrated package of life-saving services across health, nutrition, WASH, education, and child protection (including gender-based violence) and leverage its development programme and resources therein. Key cross-cutting actions, such as protection from sexual abuse and exploitation, social behavioral change and community engagement, and accountability to affected populations, will be streamlined across all sectors. UNICEF commits to strengthening humanitarian leadership and coordination at national and subnational levels through its co-leadership of the WASH, education, and nutrition sectors and the child protection area of responsibility and its engagement in the health sector.
UNICEF will increase its support to life-saving primary healthcare services with a greater focus on maternal, neonatal, and child health as well as immunization to preventand respond to disease outbreaks and leverage polio resources to reach the most vulnerable children in priority flood-affected districts. UNICEF will expand its WASH interventions to reach more people and communities with access to safe water (through water trucking and establishing/rehabilitating water systems) and sanitation services in community and facility settings, as well as hygiene promotion/risk communication to prevent the spread of water- and vector-borne diseases. UNICEF will scale up its support for timely and quality nutrition interventions (treatment of severe wasting, IYCF, and micronutrient supplementation); while the funding requirements in this appeal cover a portion of the nutrition targets, development resources will be mobilized and leveraged for the full target caseloads. Child protection interventions will focus on community-based mental health and psychosocial support, specialized case management, civil registration, capacity building, and risk awareness; inclusive of prevention, risk mitigation and response to gender-based violence for girls, boys, women and men. UNICEF will strengthen the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse by building capacity of partners and expanding reporting mechanisms. In education, UNICEF will support the continuity of learning and safe school reopening, including dewatering/cleaning of flood-affected schools, setting up temporary learning centres, and capacity building of teachers.
With children exposed to the impacts of climate change, UNICEF will strengthen national and sub-national capacities for climate resilience and emergency preparedness across all sectors. This includes maintaining contingency stocks for other risks (such as earthquakes, extreme winter season, and drought) and preparing for and responding to potential regional crises and population movements.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Pakistan; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.