ISLAMABAD: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) representative in Pakistan has said that an estimated 16 million children have been impacted by ‘super floods’ and at least 3.4 million girls and boys remain in need of immediate, lifesaving support.

In a statement issued here on Friday, Abdullah Fadil, who recently concluded a two-day visit to the flood-affected areas of Sindh, said the situation was extremely grim in flood-hit areas with malnourished children battling diarrohea, dengue fever and several painful skin diseases.

Mr Fadil said floods had now claimed the lives of at least 528 children and each and every one of these deaths was a tragedy which could have been averted.

As the magnitude of flood disaster continues to unfold, international aid continues to trickle in. The Japanese government on Friday announced US$7 million while the Canadian government pledged $3m Canadian dollars for the flood-hit people.

Japan announces $7m, Ottawa pledges $3m Canadian dollars for flood-hit people

“The sad reality is that without a massive increase in support and aid, many more children will lose their lives,” the Unicef representative said.

In pictures: Devastating floods affect millions in Pakistan

“A lot of the mothers are anemic and malnourished themselves and have very low-weight babies. Mothers are exhausted or ill and they are unable to breastfeed. Millions of families have been forced from their homes, now living with little more than rags to protect themselves from the scorching sun as temperatures in some areas pass 40 degrees Celsius.

“Many families have been forced to seek shelter on slivers of higher ground, often alongside roads putting children at risk, as lower land is covered by huge expanses of stagnant water, extending as far as the eye can see. The additional threats of snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes are ever-present in the area,” Mr Fadil said.

“Whilst the number of children lost in these floods continues to grow, Unicef is doing everything it can to support children and families affected and protect them from the ongoing dangers of water-borne diseases, malnutrition and other risks,” he added.

Japanese, Canadian aid

The Japanese government decided on Friday to extend emergency grant aid of $7 million to Pakistan in response to damages caused by flood disaster.

Of the $7m, World Food Programme will get $2.5m for food; IOM $1.5m for shelter and non-food items; Unicef $1m for water, sanitation and hygiene; UNHCR $1m for protection, non-food items; and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies $1m for health and medical care, the statement said.

The Canadian government has announced to match individual donations up to a total of 3m Canadian dollars through the Humanitarian Coalition of 12 charitable organisations collecting funds and donations in Canada in response to flooding in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, over 90,000 people were treated for infectious and water-borne diseases in a day in flood-hit areas of Sindh, government data showed on Friday, as the total death toll from the inundations surpassed 1,500.

Flooded areas have become infested with diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, diarrhoea and skin problems, according to the report issued by the Sindh government.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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