On Monday, August 17th, I received a letter from UNICEF, highlighting the needs in Pakistan and what UNICEF is trying to accomplish. I know that Pakistan has been in the news a great deal recently because of the political turmoil they have endured in the last few years, but that is all I really knew.
I visited the CIA –World Factbook and found out a few facts on Pakistan.
- Pakistan is in southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north.
- In comparison to other countries, Pakistan is 36th in size.
- Pakistan has frequent earthquakes, often severe, and often has major flooding in July and August.
- Most of the population does not have access to potable water.
The following is the letter that I received from UNICEF. The severe needs in this country made me get out my checkbook and I sent in a check with a note that I did this in response to Clay Aiken and his work with UNICEF. Maybe you can do the same….even $5.00 would help.
“I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today.”
— UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, August 15th, 2010
Monsoon rains and flooding continued this past weekend in Pakistan. In their wake: 6 million children in desperate need. Countless children orphaned. Stricken with diarrhea and disease. Suffering.
As one 17-year old, the oldest of seven children, told a reporter this weekend: “My four-year-old sister is hungry and ill but I have no idea what to do, where to go. No one is there to help us,” he said. “Life was already so difficult, but now we’re doomed.”2
As the world comes to grip with the scale of destruction and misery left in the aftermath of Pakistan’s worst-ever natural disaster, UNICEF is there.
Thanks to the many generous individual supporters who responded to appeals last week, 100 metric tons of relief supplies arrived in advance of the weekend. The cargo contained nutritional supplies, health kits, midwifery kits and tarpaulins.
That shipment joined a massive relief operation that is only getting started. Below are just a few details of UNICEF’s efforts to date, pulling directly from the latest situation report:
- Clean drinking water provided to 1 million people every day;
- Oral rehydration salts and zinc tablets distributed to help 5 million people at risk of diarrhea and disease;
- Vaccinations for measles and polio initiated in the more populated districts impacted by flooding;
- High energy biscuits, dry rations and powdered milk distributed to women and children; and
- Soap and hygiene kits distributed to more than 30,000 families.
Much more will be needed as millions still do not have basic essentials – water, food, shelter. Of those still in need, children are the most vulnerable. They cannot control their thirst, so they drink dirty water. That puts them at risk of diarrhea, cholera and other diseases. Marooned in tent villages, or wandering alone, many of them are traumatized.
As much as we have done together, more children still need our help. For the 17-year old boy who believes he is doomed and for the all the Pakistani children like him, UNICEF will continue to work tirelessly, day and night.
UNICEF’s response in Pakistan wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of individuals. You can feel confident that your donations are making a difference today in the lives of Pakistani children struggling to survive.
Caryl M. Stern
President and CEO
U.S. Fund for UNICEF