Islamabad [Pakistan], September 2 (ANI): Over the past few weeks, torrential monsoon rains have broken a century-long record and dumped more than five times the 30-year average for rainfall in some provinces, killing more than 1200 people, including about 400 children.
The unprecedented floods have washed away or damaged over 1.1 million houses and destroyed vital infrastructure children rely on to access essential services, such as schools and hospitals.
At least 18,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed across the country due to the floods.
"We estimate that 16 million children are impacted and 3.4 million of these children are in need of humanitarian support," said UNICEF Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
"Exacerbating this horrendous situation, many of the 72 hardest-hit districts were already amongst the most vulnerable ones in Pakistan. 40 per cent of children were already suffering from stunting before the floods hit. Many children are now at heightened risk, without a home, school, or even safe drinking water," Fadil added.
According to UN agencies, the situation will only continue to deteriorate as winter is just eight weeks away in some parts of the country.
There is now a high risk of water-borne, deadly diseases spreading rapidly -- diarrhoea, cholera, dengue, malaria. Without adequate sanitation, communities are increasingly having to resort to open defecation, putting them at high risk of contracting diseases.
"Relief and rescue operations are still extremely hard to carry out - around 160 bridges and 5,000 kilometres (3,200 miles) of roads have been destroyed or damaged, 3.5 million acres of crops affected and about 800,000 livestock lost. Yet lifesaving rescue and relief efforts are indispensable, and UNICEF is distributing humanitarian supplies in all affected provinces," said Fadil.
The UNICEF country representative said they urgently need these funds and resources to allow us to continue to provide lifesaving medical equipment, essential medicines, vaccines, safe drinking water, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and delivery kits, as well as funds to ensure service outreach for delivery.
"We know that any emergency like this runs the risk of increasing protection risks for children, undermining the resilience and psychosocial wellbeing of children and their parents, leaving many experiencing distress," he said.
The UNICEF official said children are exposed to a wide range of new flood-related physical risks and hazards, including from damaged buildings, drowning in flood waters and snake. (ANI)