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Billions in Donor Pledges, But Who’s Saving Our Children?

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The International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan held in Geneva earlier this year brought in billions of dollars in donor pledges for the country. However, it seems that the attention and resources being given to securing these funds is not being matched by the concern and action being taken for the people it was held for.

A recent report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlights the dire situation facing millions of children in Pakistan who are still living in contaminated and stagnant floodwater months after the monsoon season. UNICEF estimates that up to 4 million children are at risk and that the incidence of acute respiratory infections has skyrocketed in flood-stricken areas.

The number of children suffering from severe, acute malnutrition has nearly doubled between July and December 2021. In total, UNICEF estimates that around 1.5 million children are in need of life-saving nutrition interventions.

The UNICEF country representative for Pakistan states that “Nearly 10 million girls and boys are still in need of immediate, life-saving support and are heading into a bitter winter without adequate shelter. Severe acute malnutrition, respiratory and waterborne diseases, coupled with the cold, are putting millions of young lives at risk”.

These are our own children who are at risk and we cannot wait for international donors to make good on their pledges before taking action. With cold waves forecast for many flood-affected regions in the coming days, emergency steps must be taken to protect at-risk children from the worst of the weather. UNICEF needs an additional $110 million dollars to ensure life-saving support to women and children affected by the floods. This is a priority and should be a top priority for the government.

It is important to remember that these children have had their lives uprooted and it is our responsibility as a society to ensure they are protected from illness and hunger. It is a moral imperative that we take immediate action to address this crisis and provide the necessary resources for these vulnerable children. We cannot afford to wait for international aid to arrive when the lives of our own children are at stake.

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