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UNICEF's life-saving operation in Pakistan in jeopardy due to funding shortfall

Millions of children at risk from water-borne diseases


Islamabad/Geneva, 17 August 2010 - UNICEF warned today that serious funding shortfalls are jeopardising its humanitarian operation in Pakistan. UNICEF is extremely concerned at the lack of funds for its water and sanitation operation, with millions of children at risk from water-borne diseases.


"Providing clean water and adequate sanitation is key to the survival of millions of flood affected people in Pakistan. In terms of numbers of people needing life-saving assistance, this emergency is bigger than the Tsunami, Haiti, and the last Pakistan earthquake put together,” said Martin Mogwanja, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan


"UNICEF is currently providing enough clean water for 1.3 million people every day, but millions more need the same services. We urgently need to scale up the distribution of water. If we are not able to do so because of lack of funding, water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and dystentery will spread and begin killing affected populations, especially children, already weak and vulnerable to disease and malnutrition", added Mogwanja.


The Government of Pakistan estimates 20 million people overall have been hit by the flood crises, and according to the UN, at least 15 million people have been seriously affected, half of whom are children.


UNICEF is concerned that the floods have hit "the poorest of the poor", those least able to survive the present harsh conditions. The top concerns are water-borne diseases, acute respiratory infections, skin diseases and malnutrition rates, already dangerously high in many flood-affected regions of Pakistan.


Polio is endemic and measles still a threat, says UNICEF, which, together with WHO and Government, is carrying out polio and measles vaccinations at relief centres. UNICEF is also supplying oral rehydration solution, a home based treatment for diarrhea, but notes that this treatment is also in short supply due to funding constraints.



For more information
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media, New York, Tel + 1 212 326-7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Marco Jimenez Rodriguez, UNICEF Media, Geneva, Tel + 41 22 909 5716, mjrodriguez@unicef.org

Tamar Hahn,
thahn@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean, Tel  + 507 3017485


UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports 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.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.




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