Estonia Helping Victims of Floods in Pakistan
The Foreign Ministry is allocating funds from its humanitarian aid budget to support the activities of UNICEF in aiding the victims of flooding in Pakistan. The country, which was ravaged by floods a year ago, experienced greater monsoon rains that predicted, which have once again caused an emergency situation.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the floods have affected 8.5 million people; nearly a million households and a great deal of farmland have been destroyed. “Since August of this year, 700 000 more people have been forced to leave their homes and go to live in camps as a result of the flooding caused by heavy rainfall,” said the foreign minister. “The catastrophe has also affected many communities that are only starting to recover from the destruction caused by the flooding last year,” he added.
The most urgent need right now is for food, health care supplies, and shelter. A total of more than 1.8 million people are living in camps built from whatever materials were available. “The camps lack the necessary sanitary and hygienic facilities and access to clean drinking water. This situation could lead to an outbreak of many diseases – cholera could spread and cases of malaria could increase,” noted the foreign minister. “It is necessary to act fast in order to prevent the outbreak of deadly diseases,” he added.
The efforts made by the Pakistani government to come to terms with the crisis have not been sufficient, so in September 2011 they turned to the international community for help. The UNICEF project in Pakistan “WASH Interventions for Flood-Affected Populations in Sindh and Balochistan”, which Estonia is supporting with 30 000 euros, is aimed at decreasing the risk of diseases that occur from a lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitary and hygienic conditions among the 1.5 million people in need, of whom 750 000 are women and 382 500 are children.
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