Children in flooded areas defenceless against cold | Pakistan Today

Children in flooded areas defenceless against cold

ISLAMABAD – The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that children in flood-stricken areas of Pakistan, who are already suffering from acute respiratory infections and malnutrition, are at risk because of no protection against cold weather.
An UNICEF official told APP on Sunday that the organisation needed $82.1 million to continue its life-saving and recovery programmes for children in the flood-hit areas. He said additional funds would be needed to cure children suffering from malnutrition and to stop the spread of polio among the kids. He said 126 polio cases were reported last year as compared to 89 in 2009 that was a worrisome issue, considering that the government had launched several polio eradication campaigns.
He said that poor sanitation conditions in the country also posed a great threat to the children. “Most of the people, who were displaced by floods, have returned to their homes but they have left with no shelter, no crops and food and no cash. In the north, where snow has fallen, we are delivering warm clothes and food supplies to help the people. But in the south slow receding waters mean that over a million lives are still at risk, besides the running cold wave is sharply increasing the number of respiratory infections among the children”, he added.
According to UNICEF, one-fifth of Pakistan’s land area was ravaged by the floods that affected over 20 million people, besides damaging some 10,000 schools and rural health centres, water and sanitation systems, bridges and roads. The UNICEF official said that the Fund had been providing clean water to 2.8 million people on daily basis and sanitation facilities to 1.5 million people.
The official said that the UNICEF, partnered with World Health Organization and the government of Pakistan, was working to immunise nine million children against measles and polio. He said nutritional supplements were also supplied to 300,000 pregnant women and mothers with young babies as well as to malnourished children and another 104,400 women and children through Child-Friendly Spaces would be protected from risks of flood-rlated deseases, adding that Temporary Learning Centres were restored for 106,500 children.
Giving the child its due
LAHORE – UNICEF Pakistan and Social Welfare Punjab organized a seminar on the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the theme ‘All Children in Pakistan have the right to protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation’.
In a day-long ceremony, students from more than thirteen educational institutions got an opportunity to express their views in the presence of their parents, teachers and policymakers. In a declamation contest held during the ceremony, young speakers discussed the principles of CRC and their practical manifestation within day-to-day life.
They emphasised children’s right to expression and opportunities to grow to their full potential through access to basic health, quality education and recreation. Speakers focused on child rights, abuse, exploitation and determination to make the world a better place for children. Young artists expressed views through paintings and sketches depicting their fears and hopes in a subtle and creative manner.
The speakers contended that education was the basic right of every child and educational denial lead to children’s exploitation. They believed that extremists exploited ignorant children by using them in suicidal attacks. They stressed the need of educating children in the present so that they could take up their responsibilities in the future.
The event culminated with a group pledge to take action to promote and protect the rights of children and put their interest first in all actions concerning them. Punjab Social Welfare Director General Warriach said “We pledge to remain vigilant in our daily lives and speaking up when we see a child’s rights violated, at home, at school, at work or on the street, it is the duty of adults to make sure that children are safe. We must use only positive ways to discipline children without hitting or scolding them”.
Children in Pakistan face a variety of serious challenges ranging from malnutrition and poor access to education and health facilities to exploitation in the form of child labour. Their low status in society can leave them victim to daily violence at home and in school and to trafficking and sexual exploitation. Girls are specially affected, as conservative attitudes may impede them attending or finishing school. Recent natural disasters have increased the vulnerability of thousands of children.
In 2005 a devastating earthquake killed an estimated 73,000 people, leaving 3.3 million people homeless. Pakistan ratified the CRC on 12 November 1990. Press Release



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