Map of South Asia
UNICEF photo: two boys wade through debris © UNICEF Sri Lanka/2016/Wooster Kelaniya, Sri Lanka: Two boys wade themselves through debris and murky water leftover from the floods of May 2016

South Asia

Regional Office 2016 Requirements (including Pakistan): US$58,244,692

Humanitarian situation

In the first half of 2016, South Asia experienced floods and landslides of varying degrees: major floods affected Pakistan where 293 people were killed and 331 injured1 as a result of heavy rains and severe weather events since March. In Sri Lanka, Cyclone Roanu unleashed torrential rains and landslides affecting at least 300,0002 people in May. Bangladesh also struggled with Cyclone Roanu, which affected 1.3 million people3, of which 481,000 were children. Many countries in South Asia also experienced drought, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and some parts of Nepal, while India is severely affected by drought and its consequences in at least 10 States. Drought in South Asia not only has implications on food security and access to water, but also impacts children in terms of increased tendency towards child marriage, child labour and school drop-outs.

Conflict continues to intensify in the region: Afghanistan has seen internal displacement of up to 137,0004 in the first quarter of 2016 stemming from the Kunduz conflict, as well as 238,000 Pakistani refugees in Khost and Paktika provinces5. UNAMA documented 1,943 civilian casualties (600 deaths and 1,343 injured) in the period between 1 January and 31 March 2016. These figures mark an overall increase in civilian casualties of two per cent compared to the same period in 2015 with a 13 per cent decrease in deaths but an 11 per cent increase in injuries6. Across the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan is also dealing with IDP returns, with 45,115 families returning in the first half of 2016, while 151,950 families continue to be displaced.7 In the areas of return, assessment reports show that the returning populations will remain dependent on food distributions until the agricultural activities are restored in the next season. Access to conflict-affected populations remains the most important challenge of humanitarian response in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Security conditions also deteriorated substantially in Bangladesh with increased attacks by extremists on minority groups, civil society representatives and foreigners.

Regional humanitarian strategy

As a part of its 4-year plan (2014-2017), the Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) will continue to provide technical assistance to eight country offices in the region to support national capacity development for risk and conflict analysis, disaster risk reduction and resilience-building strategies—with particular attention to the most vulnerable groups. ROSA provides technical support to fulfil its Core Commitments for Children (CCCs) in Humanitarian Action—especially in nutrition, health, WASH, education and child protection. Support is also extended to country office in skills development for partnership management in emergencies, emergency preparedness capacity building, and staff security with a specific emphasis on strengthening subnational level capacity of partners. ROSA also promotes peer-exchanges and cross-country learning with staff and partners. Key lessons on emergency preparedness in South Asia will be documented and its findings shared. The Regional Office will expand its recent partnership with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) on Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR), including Child-Centred Risk Assessment methodologies and Comprehensive School Safety. Given that South Asia is one of the most dangerous regions for aid workers globally8, ROSA will maintain a technical capacity to support the mitigation and management of risks to UNICEF staffs and assets. This expertise will be also available to the East Asia and Pacific Region as needed. The overall approach is to bring to the fullest extent synergies across regional office functions notably emergency, planning, programme sectors, operations, communication and evaluation so as to maximize a comprehensive package of technical guidance and support to UNICEF country offices and partners.

Results to date

As of 30 June 2016, ROSA has only received 26% funding against its HAC appeal of US$43,082,325 covering both the Regional Office’s and Pakistan’s requirements. In response to the May 2016 floods in Sri Lanka and the ongoing emergency in Afghanistan, ROSA provided surge, technical support and funding (for Sri Lanka only) to the affected country offices. ROSA also stepped up its support in facilitating emergency preparedness and response training for Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan and participated in an inter-agency Senior Transformative Agenda Implementation Team (STAIT) mission to Pakistan. Regional trainings on Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction, Child-Inclusive Risk Assessment and Comprehensive School Safety were facilitated to the benefit of over 60 UNICEF staff and their government partners, in support of the implementation of the SAARC Regional Framework on Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction. Knowledge products on the best practices for flood and earthquake preparedness in South Asia were developed and distributed to COs and partners, as well as a regional discussion paper on drought. In the absence of a local appeal, funding for UNICEF Sri Lanka floods response was also received via the Regional Office pass through funding mechanism.


Humanitarian strategy

The 2016 Pakistan Humanitarian Strategic Response Plan (PHSP) focusses on supporting displaced populations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), as well as assisting those returning to areas declared safe by the Government. It has been endorsed by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and seeks US$442.4 million to address the critical humanitarian needs of 3.6 million IDPs, returnees, refugees and populations suffering from malnutrition and other vulnerable groups. In the first half of the year, return of displaced populations gained momentum with 45,115 families returning home and nearly 16 per cent of them being female-headed. In total, over 151,000 families have returned since March 2015, representing nearly 50 per cent of the total displaced, while 151,950 families are still displaced. Additionally, the arid zone of Sindh continues to be affected by drought, placing thousands of children and women at risk of malnutrition, food insecurity and compromised access to water. The recurrent drought, unavailability of maternal and child health care, lack of alternative livelihood opportunities and limited agriculture activities underlined by extreme poverty, negatively affect the health and nutrition status of children and women in Tharparkar and similar districts in the province. In line with the 2016 PHSP, UNICEF revised the following targets:

  • 594,067 children and women accessing life-saving interventions through measles campaigns and child health days. Target was revised upwards to include women of child-bearing age as they constitute an important component of Health Education activities.
  • 89,366 children targeted for admission to therapeutic feeding programmes in KP, FATA and Sindh and internally displaced persons targeted for management of severe acute malnutrition cases.
  • 400,200 people, including approximately 200,100 children, reached with a combination of critical WASH services, including with sufficient safe drinking water for cooking and maintaining hygiene, access to sanitation facilities and hygiene education.
  • 170,946 children and 79,590 women with safe access to protective spaces and related services.
  • 124,032 displaced and returnee children (45 per cent girls) gained access to education through safe and secure learning environments that promote the protection and well-being of learners.

Results to date

As of 30 June 2016, UNICEF Pakistan has 36 per cent (US$14 million) funding available in support of humanitarian response against the total HAC requirement of US$37.38 million. The shortfall of over 60 percent, which hugely impacted implementation of nutrition activities, is coupled with access challenges in FATA and some areas of KP due to non-issuance of No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Government of Pakistan. Additional challenges included implementation delays due to slow and time consuming process of NOC issuance that resulted in the underachievement of many planned targets: emergency nutrition response suffered frequent breaks and interruptions; there was poor coverage of outreach activities due to the volatile security situation inhibiting safe implementation and limiting access to women and children in need of essential nutrition and health services.

Funding requirements

ROSA’s revised appeal seeks US$58,244,692 for regional- and country-level activities in humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction in 2016 in South Asia. It includes US$43,244,692 for Pakistan to respond to the humanitarian needs of girls, boys, women and men. These funds will cover multi-sectoral response to the complex emergencies in KP and FATA; and nutrition support to drought-affected communities in Sindh. Funding requirements at regional level include US$15,000,000 to support a regional contingency funding for quick disbursement to country offices in need. US$700,000 is also required for regional technical support for emergency preparedness, disaster risk reduction and staff security as per regional offices accountabilities under UNICEF Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs).


1 OCHA Flash update#2 – Pakistan rains, 4 July 2016
2 Sri Lanka Disaster Management Center, 24 May 2016
3 Bangladesh Humanitarian Coordination Task Team, 2016 Joint Response Plan for Cyclone Roanu, 1June 2016.
4 OCHA Afghanistan, as of 12 June 2016
5 UNHCR Afghanistan, 1 Jan – 31 March 2016.
6 UNAMA first quarter civilian casualty data for 2016 -17 April 2016
7 UNOCHA Pakistan, FATA Return Weekly Snapshot, 3-9 June 2016
8 Humanitarian Outcomes, Aid Worker Security Report, 2015