LONDON: Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation, has warned that without further increase in funds for children in flood-ravaged Pakistan, the threat of disease and food crisis would increase.
Unicef UK’s executive director David Bull said, “Unicef supplies for children are getting through, but we know we need to reach a lot more children. This is a crisis on a massive scale and if we do not get funds to supply clean water, and healthcare for children soon, there could be a second wave of deaths caused by waterborne diseases. Families have been displaced and lost their crops and livestock to floods. We are reaching children with high energy biscuits but unless assistance reaches more children, a food crisis is possible.”
“Children are most vulnerable in these situations and we need to get aid to them urgently,” Bull added. “It is wrong that children are suffering and Unicef wants to put it right. We don’t receive funding from UN budget and call on British public to support us at this time and give what they can to help Pakistan’s children.”
Of 14 million people affected by floods, 8.4 million (60 per cent) are women, children and are most at risk from disease and hunger. Unicef is leading on water and sanitation response in Pakistan and providing clean drinking water to almost 1 million people including over half a million children. In total, it is aiming to deliver 4.2 million sachets of oral rehydration salts and 2.1 million doses of zinc for prevention and treatment of diarrhoea. In Punjab Unicef provided 500,000 water purification tablets for local health teams to use.
The UN estimated hundreds of millions of pounds will be required urgently for life-saving humanitarian activities in coming months. Over a longer term, billions of pounds will be needed in order to help people rebuild their lives and for the country to repair damage caused by floods.
Even the smallest of donations from the UK public can make a difference to children’s lives in Pakistan: (a) 10 pound buys a water kit for one family containing buckets, collapsible water containers, soap bars, toothpaste, toothbrushes and water purification tablets; (b) 30 pound buys measles vaccines for 45 children; and 26.50 pound could pay for one month’s supply of peanut paste for one child with severe malnutrition, enough to nurse them back to health.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2010.
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