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UNICEF sends emergency supplies to...

2003.08.05
■ UNICEF sends emergency supplies to assist relief operation for flood victims in Pakistan ISLAMABAD/KARACHI, AUGUST 4: Tens of thousands of people in the Pakistan Province of Sindh have been displaced from their homes and are facing the threat of disease having seen swathes of territory inundated by severe flooding. The flooding has been caused by the worst heaviest monsoon rains recorded for tens years. More rainfall is predicted this week. Many people are still recovering from eight years of severe drought which has reduced family incomes to levels of extreme poverty So far the death toll is reported to have reached 153 with nearly 870,000 people affected in the districts of Karachi, Dadu, Thatta, Jacobabad, Hyderabad, Larkana, Tharparkar and Shikarpur. Preliminary reports suggest that the worst hit area is Badin where nearly half a million people have been displaced or stranded by the floods. An estimated 75,000 (17%) of them are children under the age of five. Young children in such circumstances are at particular risk from diarrhea caused by bad water and other diseases. UNICEF has already responded with the first consignment of emergency supplies. These include urgently needed oral dehydration salts, water purification tablets and jerry cans for distribution in four of the worst affected districts. “That was only the first response. UNICEF believes women and children will require support for many weeks to come. At the moment they face a scarcity of safe water and food but waterborne diseases are likely to erupt soon with malaria and snakebite an additional possibility” said Serap Maktav, Acting Representative of UNICEF Pakistan. UNICEF, in coordination with other UN agencies, immediately dispatched assessment teams to Badin and Thatta to assist the aid operation. In Badin, where the Pakistan Army is at the forefront of relief operations, some 170,000 people are currently living in 91 relief camps which have been established in schools and Health Units. Another 100,000 people are expected to move to these locations over the next few days as flood waters subside, making movement possible. The new school term has been delayed as many schools in Sindh are being used as temporary relief camps for up to 200,000 people. Substantial funds have been allocated for the relief work by the Pakistan Government which has established a committee to coordinate and execute operations. UNICEF and other UN agencies are working with the committee to alleviate distress and save lives. Items that are still urgently needed include tents, lanterns, blankets, sheets, food and medicines for gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, anti-snake venom, clothes and cooking utensils.
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