Assistance for children in Pakistan at risk due to major funding shortfall

Following the monsoon floods that have struck Sindh province for the second year in a row, UNICEF and its partners are now reaching hundreds of thousands of families with life-saving assistance. Nearly 210,000 people are now receiving clean water daily, while supplies such as buckets, soap, water purification tablets and tarps are being distributed to more than 100,000 people.

NEW YORK (October 3, 2011) – Following the monsoon floods that have struck Sindh province for the second year in a row, UNICEF and its partners are now reaching hundreds of thousands of families with lifesaving assistance. Nearly 210,000 people are now receiving clean water daily, while supplies such as buckets, soap, water purification tablets and tarps are being distributed to more than 100,000 people.

UNICEF has also been supporting some 100 mobile immunization teams from the Department of Health to administer more than 175,500 vaccines, including polio and measles, to children at relief sites. UNICEF-supported mobile and static health teams have already reached more than 11,000 women with pre-natal and post-natal care, safe deliveries, and referrals to health facilities. In addition, mobile teams are going house to house to screen children and pregnant and lactating women, identifying the malnourished and referring them to for appropriate treatment. This week, UNICEF also has set up 900 Temporary Learning Centers for 45,000 children.

UNICEF and partners have now established 23 new centers for the management of severely malnourished children in affected districts. These complement the 454 centers already established in response to the 2010 floods that continue to operate in partnership with other UN agencies and national and international non-governmental organizations.

However, UNICEF is now facing a major funding shortfall as it scales up humanitarian assistance to meet the key needs of hundreds of thousands of children and women displaced by the floods. Within the UN Rapid Response Plan, UNICEF is appealing to the international community for $50.3 million to cover the immediate needs of children and women for six months. To date, only limited funding has been received, and UNICEF's water trucking program alone costs US$600,000 per month. Additional relief supplies for health, nutrition and water are urgently needed but cannot be purchased without additional funds.  

"Time is of the essence to meet the critical life-saving needs of children and families affected by the floods, which have compounded existing vulnerabilities. UNICEF is already providing critical humanitarian assistance but requires additional resources in order to deliver at scale," said UNICEF Pakistan Representative, Dan Rohrmann.

This week, in collaboration with the Department of Health and partners such as the World Health Organization and UNFPA, more than one million women and children will be reached in six flood-affected districts with a package of assistance, which includes immunization, deworming, and awareness messages on diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, as well as the distribution of clean delivery kits, newborn kits and hygiene kits. This is expected to significantly reduce the threats of communicable diseases as well as the complications of pregnancies.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.

For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, (m) 646.428.5010, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org