As flood victims struggle with the devastation caused by the monsoons, UNICEF is sending medical aid to the country’s government to help the millions of children who need help.
By Francesca Merlo
The people of Pakistan continue to suffer the devastating consequences of the floods, after heavy monsoon rains left a third of the country under water. More than 33 million people have been affected, half of them children, of whom at least 3.4 million need immediate life-saving assistance.
UNICEF responded to the emergency by delivering 32 tonnes of life-saving medical supplies and other emergency aid to help affected children and women. This shipment includes medicines, medical supplies, water purification tablets, safe delivery kits and therapeutic food supplements.
The aid, handed over to the Government of Pakistan, will be sent immediately to children and families most in need in some of the 72 worst affected districts.
Abdullah Fadil, the UNICEF representative in Pakistan, said: “The floods have left children and families exposed without access to basic necessities.” He added: “This expedition is crucial, but it is only a drop in the ocean of what is needed. The risk of an outbreak of water-borne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, dengue and malaria, continues to increase daily. because people are forced to drink contaminated water and defecate in the open. The dangers of mosquitoes, snakebites, skin and respiratory diseases are also increasing. We need urgent support to help children struggling to survive.”
A second shipment of 34 tons of humanitarian supplies is expected to arrive on Tuesday, with medicine to treat parasitic infections, resuscitation and sterilization kits, micronutrients for pregnant women, educational materials and recreational kits to help children overcome the traumas.
The UN says rescue and relief operations are still extremely difficult: many roads are still blocked by floodwaters and at least 5,000 kilometers of roads and around 160 bridges have been destroyed or damaged.
As part of the United Nations Flash Appeal for $160 million to support the national flood response, UNICEF is requesting $37 million to reach children and families in need of life-saving assistance.