NEW YORK (June 22, 2012) — UNICEF has received $3.7 million from the European Commission to combat malnutrition among women and children in Pakistan who have been affected by floods and conflict. The nutrition interventions that are now guaranteed will help reach more than half a million people, mostly children.
The support comes at a critical time as nutrition is a key concern in Pakistan, where up to 10 million children suffer from malnutrition. Nearly 3.5 million children are hit by acute malnutrition, and another 1.4 million by severe acute malnutrition, weakening their immune system and often causing death.
The UNICEF project will assist districts of Sindh province in the south that have been hit hard by the floods and are vulnerable to food insecurity. It will also help more than 58,000 families who have fled violence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) since January and are now living in very poor conditions in camps or with host communities in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
With funding from ECHO, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, UNICEF will offer access to nutritional services and health care by screening more than 370,000 children under five—of whom 32,000 need treatment for moderate or severe malnutrition—and 165,000 pregnant and lactating women, who will also receive micro-nutrient supplements. Hundreds of health workers will be trained so that they can provide nutrition services and develop emergency preparedness measures.
“The support of the European Union could not have come at a more crucial moment, at a time where resources are very limited but the humanitarian needs are critical. The nutrition situation and the dire conditions of families living in camps or host communities require urgent interventions that we will now be able to deliver,” said Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF’s Representative in Pakistan, who was in Brussels for meetings with the European Commission.
"Both floods and conflict have taken a heavy toll and Pakistan is still facing huge humanitarian challenges," said Claus H. Sørensen, Director-General of ECHO. “Millions of children live in conditions that are simply not acceptable in the 21st century. It is vital that we continue to support and work with all those who can help bring about change.”
The ECHO contribution is part of a $24.8 million funding package announced in late April to assist people in Pakistan displaced by floods and insecurity.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency 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 more than 12 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 more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.