Even though monsoon rains ended some four months ago, the crisis for vulnerable children continues to date. Unicef has just revealed that four million children are still living in deplorable conditions near contaminated and stagnant floodwater. This has severely affected their survival and well-being as diseases and respiratory infections are surging during the ongoing cold winter season.
While NGOs and social organisations are working tirelessly in their own capacity, there is still a lack of concerted response to tackle a crisis of this magnitude. Distribution of funds and access the marooned communities has been a major issue, which can be curtailed through proper management, but successive governments are nowhere to be seen. This is why a small percentage of children have received aid till now. No comprehensive report has been formulated and neither have affected areas been ascertained. Moreover, no serious plans were made to drain or even use inundated floodwater. It is because of this that 1.5 million children now require life-saving nutrition interventions and Unicef has currently appealed for $173.5 million in the regard — an amount almost 17 times more than what Pakistan managed to secure at the Geneva moot. The federal and provincial governments must keep politics aside for now and rigorously appeal to the international community, especially child’s rights organisations, for help. Apart from this, rich local communities must come through and donate essentials such as foods, clothes and sanitary equipment for children in need.
The international community has failed to fulfil its pledges and Pakistan continues to suffer from a disaster that was created elsewhere. Rich countries have failed to find a middle ground regarding the climate crisis. They must now let sanity prevail and respond to Pakistan’s call for help, not as charity but as a responsibility to humankind and climate change.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2023.