Pakistan: UN & Partners Press On Relief Efforts
PAKISTAN: UN AND PARTNERS PRESS ON WITH RELIEF EFFORTS 1 MONTH AFTER EARTHQUAKE
New York, Nov 8 2005 5:00PM
Stepping up relief to the victims of Pakistan's devastating earthquake, the United Nations and the inter-governmental International Organization for Migration (IOM) now have 300 staff in the disaster area, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
Giving a balance sheet of operations in the first month since the 8 October disaster, OCHA cited on the health front the prevention of epidemic outbreaks of major communicable diseases as a big achievement, with 300,000 children vaccinated against measles so far.
Among other recent achievements, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has helped fix the Muzaffarabad water supply system, which serves more than 200,000 people and is now 90 per cent restored. UNICEF has also provided more than 1 million packets of chlorine to rural populations, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has donated more than 8,300 tons of high-energy biscuits.
On education, UNICEF has delivered 300 'school-in-a-box' kits and worked with partners to establish 36 tent schools.
Bearing in mind the lack of funding for the flash appeal – with only $133 million of the $550 million sought so far contributed or pledged – the UN and its partners have decided to target up to 200,000 people living in high altitude valleys above the snowline who may become inaccessible within the next four weeks, as well as an estimated 150,000 people who may choose to move down to the lower valleys.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that it would be providing half a million blankets and over 20,000 family tents from its global stocks, but the Pakistani Government says more than 241,000 tents are needed together with 3.8 million blankets – or two per head.
"We are continuing to look for additional sources of supplies, but our efforts are still hobbled by a lack of funds," agency spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.
Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) warned that with some 17,000 quake-affected women expected to give birth in the next two months, 1,200 will face major complications and about 400 require surgical assistance.
To help local authorities address this situation, UNFPA is providing clean delivery kits, caesarean section kits, emergency supplies and much-needed surgical equipment to health centres and referral facilities.