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Worst rainstorms in 20 years threaten children’s lives

© UNICEF Pakistan/2005
Pakistan has been hard hit by floods arising from torrential rain and heavy snowfalls.

By Kun Li

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 14 February 2005 - Torrential rainfalls and snows have besieged Pakistan causing devastating loss of life across the entire country. A series of landslides and avalanches have also disrupted transportation, leaving thousands of people stranded or homeless.

In Balochistan, one of the hardest-hit areas, five villages were completely swept away. Many houses have also collapsed after the Shadikor dam burst near Pasni, a consequence of the heavy rains.

“Seven thousand people have been affected so far in Balochistan alone,” says UNICEF Country Representative Omar Abdi. “We estimate that about one third of the affected are children. The death toll right now is 200, but with many more still missing, the number is expected to rise.”

© UNICEF Pakistan/2005
UNICEF emergency supplies being labelled prior to dispatch for Balochistan province, Pakistan.
The provincial Governments of Balochistan and North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) have declared a state-of-emergency in the affected areas. The Pakistan army and navy have been called in to conduct rescue and relief operations. However, persistent bad weather is a major hindrance to the relief efforts.

“The main need now is shelter and clean water. UNICEF has delivered jerry cans, aquatabs, water purification tablets and health kits to children and their families affected by the floods. We also sent blankets and warm clothes to children,” says Mr. Abdi. “Waterborne diseases are a major concern to UNICEF as well as infectious diseases. We will soon have a measles immunization campaign for children in the affected areas,” he added.

On Tuesday, two additional truckloads full of UNICEF and WFP emergency supplies are scheduled to leave for Balochistan.




14 February 2005:
UNICEF Country Representative, Omar Abdi, gives an update on the devastation facing children and their families in flooded areas of Pakistan.
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