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Media Outlets Examine Challenges Facing Pakistan Six Months After Floods

Six months after monsoon flooding hit Pakistan, the U.N. reports that about 4 million people remain without temporary or permanent shelter, VOA News reports.

The article highlights the results of nutrition survey conducted in the Pakistani province of Sindh, which found “over 23 percent of children aged between six and 59 months in flood-affected areas of Northern Sindh and just over 21 percent in Southern Sindh are acutely malnourished” (Schlein, 1/28). 

“The rates are well above the U.N. World Health Organization’s (WHO) 15 percent emergency threshold level, which triggers a humanitarian response, UNICEF said in an update,” U.N. News Centre writes, adding: “Records from northern Sindh revealed a severe acute malnutrition rate of 6.1 per cent. The Sindh provincial government estimates that about 90,000 children aged 6 to 59 months are malnourished” (1/28).

“UNICEF is extremely concerned about this finding and is working with the federal and provincial government authorities concerned to reach and treat these children,” Pascal Villeneuve, UNICEF Pakistan acting representative, said, according to a UNICEF press release. “The floods may have uncovered the hidden face of child malnutrition in Pakistan, but we see this as an opportunity to scale up a sustained response that will benefit children in the short- and long term,” Villeneuve added (1/28).

According to the U.N. News Centre, similar nutrition surveys were conducted in other flood areas, data from the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have yet to be released, according to news service (1/28). VOA News describes several ways UNICEF is working to to address the food, water and health needs of the people in the region (1/28).

“The U.N. launched a $2 billion flood relief appeal in September but still requires nearly half that amount, in particular to help farmers return to work after the waters devastated fields,” Agence France-Presse reports (1/28). “Pakistan’s agriculture sector is particularly in need of assistance because two million hectares of crops were destroyed by the floods, which also severely damaged irrigation systems,” according to U.N. News Centre (1/27).

“Of the more than 450 projects included in the Floods Relief and Early Recovery Response Plan for Pakistan, 252 are early recovery programmes, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),” U.N. News Centre writes. To date, the early recovery programs have received 39 percent of the funding needed, according to the news service.

“Since the beginning of the emergency, almost 10 million people have received essential medical assistance, about 7 million are receiving monthly food rations, and more than 800,000 households have been provided with emergency shelter. An estimated 3.5 million people have access to safe drinking water through rehabilitated water supply systems,” U.N. News Centre continues. “Longer-term recovery entails reviving agriculture providing shelter, education facilities and employment opportunities and continuing medical assistance to prevent disease outbreaks” (1/27).

The BBC explores the challenges faced by the Pakistani people living in a community in southern Punjab that was hit by the flood. Some residents question how aid money given in response to the floods is being used, as they say progress since the floods has been slow (Maqbool, 1/29).

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