Children scurry into class one by one with big grins on their faces. It’s the first time many of these kids are smiling again as they return to school after torrential monsoon rains caused catastrophic ‘super floods’ that swept through Pakistan. After settling in, almost 30 small children sit in neat rows in the UNICEF Temporary Learning Centre (TLC)—set up to help kids get back into their education. Most of the children here have lost family members to rapid flood waters, their family cattle have drowned, and their food crops flushed away. Learning centres not only allow them to continue their schooling but it also gives them a break from the devastation and heartache that surrounds them outside.
The urgent response of donors has meant our local teams on the ground have been able to quickly establish nine TLCs in flood-affected areas in Baluchistan and Sindh—two of the major provinces of Pakistan. These TLCs have allowed our staff to reach 880 children with education services and supplies.
In the Punjab province, donor support has provided 12,000 student learning kits, 70 recreation kits, 15 School-in-a-Box kits, 100 blackboards, 100 tarpaulin rolls, and 1,000 face masks. These will benefit 12,000 children (50 percent girls and 50 percent boys).
After receiving school bags and supplies Shaista (10) was happy to attend her first-class in UNICEF supported Temporary Learning Center (TLC) in the village Allah Dina Channa, Baluchistan province. Her primary school has been destroyed by monsoon floods.
The latest update reveals flood waters have now claimed the lives of at least 528 children. And it continues to affect over 16 million children with at least 3.4 million girls and boys in need of immediate, lifesaving support.
Floods have also damaged and destroyed over a million homes. It’s forced hundreds of thousands of families and children to live in displacement camps that are lacking adequate shelter and access to food, clean water and sanitation.
More than a third of Pakistan is under water. This is an aerial view of a flooded residential area of Rajar village in Mirpur Khas District, Sindh Province. Many people are living in cramped spaces where they can find higher ground.
Parents and children affected by a crisis consistently cite education as a top priority. Thanks to generous donor support TLCs also act as safe spaces for children where they can be protected from physical dangers that are heightened when a disaster strikes—including abuse, exploitation, and recruitment into armed groups. Bringing kids together under TLCs allow staff and UNICEF partners to reach more children on the ground, providing them with lifesaving food, water, health care, and hygiene supplies. It also gives our staff a chance to teach the importance of water safety and sanitation to kids, especially in disaster-affected areas where infected waters increase bacteria and spread diseases.
Tanks providing clean water have been installed in TLC’s like this one in the Umerkot district, Sindh Province. Providing children with safe water for drinking.
Local staff have also been able to reach children in learning centres to offer psychosocial support, giving children stability and structure to help them cope with the trauma they’re experiencing every day.
UNICEF Staff-Zia Baloch, Social and Behavior Change officer talking to 8-year-old Rukhsana in a remote village in the Baluchistan province. He's giving an information session on health hygiene in a disaster .
Rukhsana is one of the millions of children who have been left traumatised by the raging floods.
Unable to grapple with a reason for the disaster, Rukhansa says “the water took my hens, my goat, my books and my bag. It took all the things from our home.”
She is a younger sister to a 14-year-old brother, who has gone with her father in search of work, food, and water. Rukhsana’s father was a shepherd of camels for local influential families but due to the loss of livestock and animals, lost his job too.
The flooded streets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan.
Overall, the help of donors has meant 85,000 people have been reached with safe drinking water and over 14,000 people have been reached with hygiene kits. Fifty mobile health clinics across the four provinces are providing lifesaving assistance to those that have been displaced because of flood waters.
Two charter flights with over 67 tonnes of life-saving medicines and medical kits arrived over the past week, with an additional 36 metric tons of humanitarian supplies on its way. Vaccines to prevent Cholera and Polio are being administered and antenatal and postnatal care services have been provided to 1,112 women.
Children are forced to live in small and worn-out tents as flooded waters invaded and washed away their homes.
Preparing for the long haul
We can see the amazing impact donors are making in supporting flood-related assistance. Donor supported TLCs have been a significant factor in bringing normality back into kids' lives. The sad reality is with prolonged flooding and children living in open spaces they remain at risk of bacterial infections and disease, drowning, and snakes. That’s why donor contributions are still vital to continue to build long-term community programmes and infrastructure including –schools, homes, medical centres, hospitals and installing clean water tanks and sanitation hubs. With your support we can lessen the impact of distress and trauma kids are facing and bring back more happy grins of children excited for a brighter future.
Millions of kids desperately need life-saving help