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ISLAMABAD: The United Nations announced Wednesday that it is going to revise its flash appeal in light of the dire humanitarian situation posed by the catastrophic floods in Pakistan and urged the world community, particularly the European Union (EU) nations to increase their support to respond swiftly to avert yet another major humanitarian disaster due to the outbreak of various diseases.

Speaking at a joint news conference along with representatives of UNICEF, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) – a representative body of 34 international NGOs – the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Julien Harneis, emphasized the need for broader support of the international community. “We are hoping the EU countries to increase their support,” he added.

He said that the UN and humanitarian organizations – 34 international NGOs under the banner of Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), 70 national NGOs under the banner of National Humanitarian Network (NHN)) – are supporting the government of Pakistan strategically from the national to the district level complementing the activities by supporting the most vulnerable communities with relief items, social and communal protection.

Harneis said that these organizations are also providing logistical and coordination support, data collection and analysis. “A lot has been done but much more is needed. The needs are colossal. We are revising the flash appeal in light of the changing needs,” he said. He also thanked the global community for their continuing support and looks forward to greater participation in light of the growing needs.

To the UN’s earlier flash appeal of $ 160 million, he said that a total of $ 60 million have been received from various countries, adding that the UN will require more assistance from the world community.

Harneis said that the humanitarian situation remains dire in flood-affected areas of Pakistan, with widespread damage to physical infrastructure and ongoing harm to people and livestock. “The devastation of the flood waters is ongoing with a possibility of a second disaster looming in sight. We deeply concerned about the very real possibility of a wave of death and disease which is already stretching its tentacles. People are exposed to deadly diseases like dengue, diarrhoea, malaria, gangrene and other skin issues,” he warned.

He added that the outbreaks of watery diarrhoea, typhoid and malaria are increasing rapidly as millions of people sleep in temporary shelters or in the open in close proximity to stagnating water. Over 134,000 cases of diarrhoea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the hardest-hit area of Sindh this past week, he said, adding that more than 50 percent of the water supply systems were damaged in the floods. “Families are surrounded by pools of stagnant water poisoned with fertilizers and faces and swarming with diseases and viruses. An estimated 1.5 million people across four provinces need water, sanitization and hygiene assistance,” the UN resident coordinator added.

He said that the families are left defenceless as nearly 2,000 health facilities have been fully or partially damaged, their supplies damaged, and people have moved away from home which makes it even harder for them to access their normal health services. He said that children are particularly vulnerable, as millions of children are still grappling to survive, and we fear thousands will not make it.

“The catastrophic floods uprooted more than 3.4 million children from their homes and claimed lives of more than 550 children. The risks to children’s lives and survival are multiplying day by day,” he warned, adding that many children have dengue, acute respiratory infections, painful skin infections and other ailments.

At the health camps, he added that a rise in cases of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition is being witnessed, adding that children require psycho-social support and recreation to reduce the effects of flood trauma.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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