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UNICEF Appeals for Funding to Urgently Assist Displaced Children and Women in Northwest Pakistan
Date:5/27/2009

NEW YORK and ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNICEF has appealed for an additional $41.4 million to provide urgent assistance to people displaced by fighting in northwest Pakistan. Over half of the displaced are children. UNICEF Pakistan has now almost exhausted its contingency stocks of supplies and funding.

Humanitarian efforts have been strained by the very rapid increase in the number of people fleeing fighting that has taken place in the Malakand division of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) since early May 2009.

"We expect that the situation for the internally displaced will only get worse in the coming weeks," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "There is an opportunity to prevent the unnecessary suffering and death of innocent children, if funds are raised. Twenty-five thousand children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes. As we work to bring that number to zero, financial support will help us to insure that the lives of children are no longer placed in jeopardy as a result of adult missteps and politics."

The massive movement of people has increased to some 2.5 million since early May 2009. They have poured into camps and host communities, arriving with few possessions and in urgent need of safe water, clothing, food, shelter, health care, and protection. These displaced have added to half a million people who had been previously displaced by conflict in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the second part of 2008.

More displacement of populations is expected in the days ahead as military operations expand to new areas.

Difficulties of access combined with shortages of essential humanitarian supplies and funding are hindering efforts to provide children and women who are internally displaced with life-saving support.

Many of the newly displaced are not yet receiving assistance, and only around 10 percent are currently in camps serviced by national or international humanitarian agencies. In the coming months, UNICEF plans to expand its humanitarian assistance to displaced children and women, both in camps and in host communities.

At present, UNICEF, with its government, UN, and humanitarian partners, is providing children and their families with safe water and sanitation, nutrition, health support, education and child protection wherever possible.

Estimates suggest that tens of thousand of people are trapped in the conflict areas, where access is severely limited. They are trying to survive with inadequate supplies of food, water, and emergency medical aid.

UNICEF's request for $41.4 million is part of the inter-agency revised Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (PHRP), which is seeking $543.2 million to cover the work of major humanitarian actors. The Government of Pakistan has welcomed the PHRP as complementing its own National Response Plan to this massive and expanding humanitarian crisis.

About UNICEF:

For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing problems that contribute to child mortality. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicefusa.org.


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SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF
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