Underfunding for Pak flood emergency jeopardizing life-saving operations: UNICEF

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Geneva, Nov 6 (ANI): A 'serious' shortfall in international aid for the UNICEF's emergency operation in Pakistan is jeopardizing life-saving programs for Pakistani flood victims including children and families, the organisation has warned.

"The emergency is far from over... "We still have much more work to do to save lives and protect the health, education and safety of children, but we are unable to do so without more funding," said UNICEF Pakistan Deputy Representative Karen Allen.

"If the funding level stays as it is - UNICEF has only received US$133.9 million of its US$251.1 million revised appeal - programs and staffing in child health, education, protection, water and sanitation and nutrition will be cut back," UNICEF said in a news note, adding that currently, the appeal is only 53 percent funded.

It noted that the task of rebuilding flood-ravaged Pakistan - one fifth of the country was flooded and 20.3 million people affected - will last many months, if not years.

In the meantime, millions of families still need emergency assistance in the form of water, medicines and nutritional supplements to survive the coming months. UNICEF is pre-positioning winter supplies in northern districts, some of which will be cut-off by winter snow, and has provided 400,000 treated bed nets - with 500,000 more in the pipeline - for southern regions, it said.

"If no additional funding is forthcoming, UNICEF will not be able to complete its measles vaccination campaign for 26 million children. Only 7.9 million children were vaccinated in the initial phase of the campaign while an additional 7 million can still be reached with existing funds. This will leave 11 million children unvaccinated and at risk of contracting measles," said Allen.

The representative also pointed out that without additional funding after December 31, 1.4 million people, including 700,000 children, would stop receiving clean drinking water, which in turn would "greatly increase the risk of exposure to acute watery diarrhea and other waterborne diseases. We will also be left without the means to sustain the 'lady health workers', who prevent or refer cases of disease and malnutrition."

The news note stated that UNICEF still requires an additional 117.2-million-dollar aid to respond to pressing emergency relief and early recovery needs in Pakistan. (ANI)

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