The Pakistan Floods: Six Months Later

A Report Prepared by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, February 2011

The Pakistan Floods: Six Months Later
A Report Prepared by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, February 2011

AFGHANISTAN

Islamabad
PAKISTAN
INDIA

Six months have passed since millions of Pakistanis suffered from the worst monsoonal floods in the country’s recorded history. UNICEF has been in action since day one as unprecedented amounts of rain in July and August of 2010 displaced 20 million people. A nation that was still reeling from a series of massive earthquakes and ongoing political, social and economic instability had yet another emergency of epic and unimaginable proportions on its hands.
Generations of Pakistanis have depended on the rivers that flow through the nation. However, this dependency turned tragic when violent flood waters ended the l ives of close to 2,000 people in the north. In three other provinces, the number affected—20 million—exceeded the combined total of lives devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the 2008 Cyclone Nargis and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. One in ten Pakistanis was affected by the unprecedented flood waters that covered an area the size of the United Kingdom. More than two million homes were damaged or destroyed. For the ten million children affected by the floods, the disaster meant the loss of homes, belongings, clothing, schooling, health care and food. The 2010 Pakistan floods tested the will not only of the citizens of Pakistan, but also the will of all humanitarian agencies. UNICEF, which has been working for Pakistan’s children for over 60 years, stood firm. During the flooding, UNICEF devoted resources, and energy into making sure that Pakistan’s children and women received supplies and services by mounting one of the largest emergency responses in its history. As winter drew near, Pakistan saw a severe sharp drop in temperatures and significant snowstorms in the north, making the need for shelter, safe drinking water, food and health care more acute. UNICEF in Action The 2010 Pakistan crisis was a slowly unfolding catastrophe that stretched and worsened over a period of seven weeks. Following the heavy flooding in Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province on July 29, UNICEF immediately initiated its emergency response. Two days later, the UNICEF Representative declared that the Pakistan Country Office was in full emergency mode. Three weeks into the floods, the number of affected Pakistanis rose to more than 15 million. On September 16, the height of the emergency, the final number of affected people was 20 million people, among them ten million children. October saw large numbers of displaced people returning to their homes. Most found their homes partially or completely destroyed. At present, UNICEF continues to deliver goods and services to children and mothers throughout Pakistan, paying particular attention to over 650,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. During this crisis, UNICEF mounted an emergency response that continues six months later, as most of the displaced have returned to their homes. As the emergency phase winds down and early recovery efforts are under way, UNICEF sees an opening to turn tragedy into opportunity, and begin the process of healing for many of Pakistan’s children. As in any emergency, UNICEF is leading the way in the areas of health, education, child protection, and water and sanitation.
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Map Flood-affected areas shown in red.

Cover photo Pakistan: A girl holds a wooden writing board in a UNICEF-supported temporary learning center in the village of Basti Bhaya in one of the worst flood-affected districts in Punjab Province. © UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

The Pakistan Floods: Six Months Later

Photo right Pakistan: Taslim Kausar measures the arm of 11-month-old Laila Allahdatta with a midupper arm circumference (MUAC) arm band. The red portion of the armband indicates severe acute malnutrition, a lifethreatening condition. © UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

Health UNICEF’s health interventions during the flood response included measles and polio vaccinations and vitamin supplementation. UNICEF and its partners immunized about 9.7 million children against polio and 8.6 million children against measles. UNICEF distributed 900,000 insecticidetreated bed nets to protect pregnant and lactating women and children under five from malaria. A massive mobilization of 44,000 lady health workers (LHWs) was undertaken to distribute medical supplies and spread health messages across the flood affected areas. LHWs are community-based health workers who conduct door-todoor outreach and give intensive health, hygiene and nutrition promotion lessons. They provide demonstrations on using oral rehydration salts for the treatment of diarrhea and deliver critical, lifesaving messages about the prevention of communicable diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia, skin infections and malaria. Mother and Child Health Days were also held in various areas in order to address the lack of access to basic health services for mothers. This campaign delivered
The Pakistan Floods: Six Months Later

a package of high-impact, low-cost child survival interventions. During the campaign, children—especially in rural areas—received immunizations and de-worming medicines. Mothers were counseled on household practices like breastfeeding and basic hygiene. They were also taught how to identify and treat diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea. The nutrition situation in Pakistan has been an issue of concern for close to a decade, particularly among children under five years old. The country’s multiple and recurring emergencies, combined with inadequate infant feeding practices and the high incidence of disease has undermined the nutritional well-being of Pakistani children. UNICEF supported all of the therapeutic programs for severely malnourished children. It distributed treatment drugs used to alleviate symptoms of malnourishment in thousands of children and leveraged long experience to ensure that nutrition strategies would meet the needs of the most vulnerable children throughout the nation, all at minimal operating costs.
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Education More than 1.8 million school children lost access to education when 16,400 schools were damaged or converted into temporary shelters. The floods dealt a heavy blow to the schooling of girls, who looked after their brothers and sisters. Still, efforts to restore education scaled up quickly. School supplies were procured and distributed to 150,000 children by November. Around 218,000 children have benefited from these supplies, such as kits containing instructional exercise books, tools for teachers as well as recreational learning activities. Furthermore, UNICEF lent its technical expertise to train 3,700 teachers. UNICEF and its partners have reached a total of 300,000 students, rehabilitated 360 schools and built 54 transitional school shelters (TSS) to temporarily replace fully damaged schools. Child Protection The floods exacerbated already significant protection risks for children and women in Pakistan. Prior to the floods, around 32 percent of girls were married before they reached the age of 18, and 3.3 million children under the age of 14 were engaged in child labor. During the floods, a confluence
Photo right Pakistan: A girl reads from a book in a UNICEFsupported temporary learning center in the village of Basti Bhaya in Punjab Province. The flood reached the village on August 5 2010, destroying the local school. © UNICEF/ Shehzad Noorani

of protection concerns arose. Pakistani children experienced profound stress. They faced hunger, disease and destruction of their homes. UNICEF’s child protection response included establishing 1,000 child-friendly spaces, where experienced UNICEF staff provided education and recreational services to 180,000 children in protected spaces. UNICEF has also established 967 child protection committees, child protection units, and birth registration centers. UNICEF is currently supporting individual and group counseling for women and children suffering from the stress brought on by the disaster. Unaccompanied and separated children have also been reunited with their families and relatives. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Before the floods, many of Pakistan’s water and sanitation facilities were in poor condition. About 42 percent of the population did not have access to toilets. The floods swept away the few facilities functioning in the north, and inundated those in the south. During the immediate response, UNICEF prioritized the construction of emergency latrines,

The Pakistan Floods: Six Months Later

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sanitation facilities, and bathing facilities to benefit 1.5 million displaced people. By September, over 680 water tankers were traveling throughout the flood affected areas to provide safe water. As time progressed, delivery strategies were modified as families returned to their homes, and the rehabilitation of water systems became the priority. Today, UNICEF and its partners are supplying clean drinking water to nearly 3.5 million Pakistanis each day.
Photo right Pakistan: A boy drinks from a newly installed handpump in the village of Jinnah Colony. UNICEF and a partner organizations, have provided safe water and sanitation in the village. © UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

Since the onset of the emergency, UNICEF has distributed nearly 30 million water purification tablets and household treatment filters to provide 300 million liters of safe drinking water. UNICEF provided nearly 30,000 sanitation facilities benefiting nearly 1.5 million people. Hygiene promotion has reached over 1.9 million Pakistanis and one million bars of soap have been distributed. The Impact of Your Support Your support has been vital to the expansion of UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts in Pakistan. Your generous support has allowed UNICEF to provide lifesaving interventions that both enrich the lives and empower Pakistan’s children and mothers. By supporting the children of Pakistan, you are acting as a true agent of change—for them and for their communities. Thank you for your continued interest and concern for the children of Pakistan.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF 125 Maiden Lane New York, NY 10038 1.800.4UNICEF www.unicefusa.org

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in over 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. In just two decades, the
The Pakistan Floods: Six Months Later

number of children under age five dying each day has been cut by one-third. But still, 22,000 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.

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