Over three million children in need of humanitarian assistance as severe flood hits Pakistan, says UNICEF

Islamabad, Pakistan: According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) more than three million children are in need of humanitarian assistance and are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the most severe flooding in Pakistan’s recent history.

In a statement on Wednesday, UNICEF said that it is working with government and non-government partners to respond to the urgent needs of children and families in affected areas.

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33 million people – including approximately 16 million children – have been affected by this year’s heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan, which have brought devastating rains, floods and landslides, the statement said.

Over 1,100 people including over 350 children have lost their lives, and a further 1,600 have been injured. Over 287,000 houses have been fully, and 662,000 partially, destroyed. Some major rivers have breached their banks and dams overflowed, destroying homes, farms and critical infrastructure including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and public health facilities.

“When disasters hit, children are always among the most vulnerable,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “These floods have already taken a devastating toll on children and families, and the situation could become even worse. UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners to ensure that children affected get the critical support they need as soon as possible.”

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There are reports of significant damage to education infrastructure as 17,566 schools have been damaged/destroyed, further jeopardizing the education of children, the statement said.

The rainfall – nearly three times the national 30-year average, and more than five times the 30-year average in some provinces, has led to the Government declaring a national emergency, with 72 districts declared ‘calamity hit’ – mostly in Balochistan and Sindh, the two worst-affected provinces, as well as in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

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