ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) may have to shut down its emergency hubs in Multan, Sukkur and Hyderabad by December 31 if no additional funding comes in, said Kristen Elsby from Unicef while addressing a press conference.
Elsby said that the lack of funding was leading to greater challenges, and that the majority of the programs will suffer.
Moreover, the flood-stricken provinces of Pakistan have reached the 100-day mark and UN agencies are stating that the emergency is far from over and still needs attention, particularly in the south and northern parts of the country.
The UN has expressed increasing alarm over the sluggish funds for Pakistan’s 21 million flood victims and appealed to donors to act swiftly to stave off a new winter emergency.
“We are getting more concerned that the funding is slowing down,” said UN spokesperson Stacey Winston at a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. Only 39 per cent, around $760 million, of a record appeal for nearly $2 billion has been pledged according to UN statistics. “We are very grateful for everybody’s generosity but it is simply not enough,” she said.
“It is still a serious emergency and that is what we have to convey to the world, that Pakistan cannot be forgotten, that people are still suffering very much,” she said.
Winston said that the onset of winter threatened a new crisis. “We are looking at another emergency in the north with winter coming. We do not want the people to be left out in the cold. We want to provide them with housing and with the materials they need to rebuild their homes.”
Fresh data from the government shows that the number of damaged houses has risen to more than 1.7 million in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, she said.
Eliane Engeler, spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration, said that only 15 per cent of those displaced in Sindh had been given material for shelter.
UN refugee agency official, Duniya Aslam Khan said that around one million people were living in camps in Sindh, where 18 new facilities had been set up for those who had been staying at schools until the new term began.
Gul Afridi from the World Health Organisation (WHO)said that health challenges were being worked on in different parts of the country. Where there is a decline in cholera cases there has been an increase in the number of Acute Respiratory Infections.
However, the organisation assured that Malaria is under control and that it plans to launch a mass awareness campaign along with the government for Dengue.
Afridi also spoke about the international missions which will be arriving to train doctors for management for the flood hit areas.
With additional input from AFP
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2010.
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