ndNoor Israr throws light on the plight of flood victims
It is a pity to observe the political drama being played out in the country around the long march orchestrated by PTI that has completely overshadowed the enormous plight endured by millions of flood victims who are languishing due to the neglect meted out to them simply because the country is interested in watching the power struggle waged on the streets of Pakistan.
It is simply callous to observe the same Pakistani people who are widely praised for their compassion and sense of charity completely leaving their compatriots in the lurch whose lives have been shattered by unprecedented floods. There is hardly any justification for this lack of attention and this intent cannot be justified under any pretext.
It is indeed hurtful to see that even the government agencies have lost their focus on the matter and are not seen providing much-needed relief to the sufferers. The media has also appeared to have become aloof from this national tragedy and hardly any coverage is given to it in the mainstream as well as in social media portals.
In this context, the United Nations International Fund for Children (UNICEF) has reiterated that the flood devastation in Pakistan was massive by any scale and that keeping this fact in view it was seeking $173.5 million for providing humanitarian assistance to the flood victims in post-disaster relief efforts.
It mentioned that $34.6 million was required for nutrition; $35 million for health; $58 million for washing; $11 million for child protection; $23 million for education and $11 million for emergency preparedness. UNICEF representatives have visited many districts of Balochistan and Sindh and have found that 9.6 million children need humanitarian assistance and due to floods some 23,000 schools are either destroyed or damaged.
UNICEF Epidemics For Flood Victims
The UNICEF representatives described that Pakistan faced two massive challenges regarding post-disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts that are required to be addressed: the first is the community in areas ready to return to their destroyed homes after the flood water recedes as they are going to their homes where there is no food, cattle are lost, schools are impacted heavily and farms could be inundated and water polluted.
They are required to be assisted and come up with alternatives and set up temporary arrangements for them to begin life afresh. The second challenge is assistance for the communities that were still underwater as they are staying with friends and families and others in camps. Some are in informal and others are in formal camps and the government must find resources to provide nutrition and health facilities to the affectees.
It was mentioned that Malaria was spreading and its treatment should be scaled up in the impacted areas to avoid epidemics. And, it was pointed out that UNICEF has extended assistance in this regard and would have to inject more resources into addressing malnutrition needs. It is also testing the water and checking its consumable consistency for the local people in flood-impacted areas and is consistently scaling up these measures.
UNICEF is supporting the provision of water filters and water purification solutions. In some parts, it is possible to drill bore wells and install hand pumps. In some cases, options are very limited and plans are to supply purified water there.
The government had released its stock of bed nets, insecticides, and other items, whereas UNICEF was also bringing tens of thousands of nets as well. It was added that this natural disaster is affecting the whole community and the support needs to be scaled up.
Catastrophic Climate Disasters
The UN has not received as much global funds for its flash appeal and only 15 percent of the total pledged amount and what is needed is a consistent appeal to donors to pay attention to the call of the UN. In this context what is also required is a long- and short-term strategy including how to increase stockpiles of essential communities, deal with food shortages, and expansion of BISP.
UNICEF has so far mobilized $40 million for managing humanitarian assistance, therapeutic foods, learning materials, water points and tents, and setting up toilets. The most affected segment of the population is the boys and girls of Pakistan who desperately need support to survive, and yet the international appeal for Pakistan remains severely underfunded.
UNICEF has regretted that its funding appeal of $39 million for Pakistan’s flood-hit children is still less than a third funded and that the needs of the children will only continue to grow. It has been mentioned that the world needs to come together and help the children in Pakistan.
Together the world can save lives by delivering life-saving health, nutrition, and education services to every child in Pakistan who needs them the most. The devastating floods in Pakistan have uprooted more than 3.4 million children from their homes in Pakistan.
The rains and floods have already claimed the lives of more than 550 children. Thousands of families in 81 calamity-hit districts are still cut-off and desperately need support. Catastrophic climate disaster continues to upend the lives of millions of children in Pakistan, it is the most vulnerable boys and girls who are paying the steepest price. It is quite certain that without urgent global action, the climate devastation seen in Pakistan was feared to be only a precursor of many more child survival catastrophes to come.
Critical Conditions For Flood Victims
Nearly 10 million children need immediate life-saving support and hundreds have already lost their lives. Over one in nine children here suffers from severe acute malnutrition — a life-threatening condition. Panic-stricken parents are searching for food to bring even a simple meal home to their children.
As winter looms, boys and girls crammed inside flimsy tents, when they were lucky enough to have one, would continue to succumb to diseases that in normal times were preventable and treatable. As the floodwaters and the media attention recede, the crisis in Pakistan has become an acute child survival crisis.
Frail, hungry children are fighting a losing battle against severe acute malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid, acute respiratory infections, and painful skin conditions. As well as physical ailments, the longer the crisis continues, the greater the risk is to children’s mental health. Children have played no part in creating the climate catastrophe in South Asia, yet they are the ones paying the biggest price.
Governments must urgently protect the critical water, sanitation and hygiene, health, and education services on which boys and girls so direly depend. They must also urgently make sure every boy and girl has the skills and knowledge they need to survive and thrive in a climate-changed world.
It added that some 7.6 million people have been displaced by the floods, according to the latest estimates, with nearly 600,000 living in relief sites. Many parts of the country, especially in Sindh province, remain underwater. Officials warn that it may take up to six months for flood waters to recede in the hardest-hit areas, as fears rise over threats of waterborne diseases and the safety of millions of people, especially women and children. The Weekender