Pakistan floods: 3.4 million children need ‘immediate life-saving support’

Following his visit this week to the south of the country, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Abdullah Fazel said the floods – triggered by record monsoon rains and described by one minister as the “worst humanitarian disaster in a decade” – affected 16 million children in total. Governorate.

The estimate came as the country’s National Disaster Management Authority updated the death toll from floods since mid-June to 1,545 people, 552 of whom were children.

Meanwhile, officials in the country are warning that the death toll may rise due to underreporting of deaths and diseases such as dengue fever are on the rise.

Azra Bichuhu, the health minister for southern Sindh province – one of the worst-hit districts where many schools and other facilities remain closed, said there was now an “emergency” caused by the massive amount of standing water, which provided the perfect setting. Breeding conditions for Aedes mosquitoes to propagate the dengue virus.

UNICEF’s Fadel said the situation on the ground in Sindh is “beyond bleak” with many malnourished children suffering from diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and dengue fever, as well as painful skin conditions.

“Girls and boys in Pakistan are paying the price for a climate disaster that is not of their making,” Fazel said.

“Young children are living in the open with their families without drinking water, food or livelihood – and they are exposed to a wide range of new risks and dangers related to floods,” Fadel said. Also, mothers, many of whom are exhausted, anemic and malnourished, are unable to breastfeed their babies.

“Vital infrastructure … was destroyed and damaged, including thousands of schools, water networks and health facilities,” he added.

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