Pakistan

UNICEF Pakistan Humanitarian Situation Report (January - December 2019)

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Highlights

• Drought-like conditions in 26 districts of Sindh and Balochistan affected an estimated five million population in 2019. In recent months, significant rains brought respite in some of the drought affected areas, although the situation in other districts remain unchanged.

• In 2019, 531,458 children (49% girls), were screened for SAM and 25,995 children (58% girls) have been enrolled in OTP and 203,527 children (49% girls) have been provided with multi-micronutrient supplements. 70,792 children were vaccinated against measles while 45,730 children were treated for pneumonia and diarrhoea. Additionally, 48 drinking water supply schemes were rehabilitated benefitting 289,786 people.

• In Sindh, 1,198 individuals of whom 80 per cent were children, tested positive for HIV/AIDS. UNICEF and partners responded through establishment of a HIV treatment center providing paediatric care and strengthening of existing PPTCT services. This coupled with successful communication and advocacy activities have ensured that more than 90% of infected children are receiving treatment.

• In the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, returning families were supported by UNICEF and partners through measles vaccination reaching 2,073 children, while 15,825 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition, and 29,092 people benefitted from the provision of safe water.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Drought

At the beginning of 2019, southern Pakistan mainly Balochistan and Sindh provinces, faced drought like conditions, which contributed to an increased loss of the livestock, food insecurity, malnutrition, and negatively impacted the health and nutrition status of mothers and children in the affected areas. The drought affected an estimated five million people in 26 districts in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Neonatal and infant mortality rates and maternal mortality ratio remained high compared to the rest of the country. Child malnutrition with acute malnutrition rates were also as high as 29.1 per cent in Sindh, more than double the emergency threshold. In recent months, widespread monsoon rains in Sindh and parts of Balochistan brought some respite to the area improving the availability of surface water.

Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDP) Returns

In KPMD, improvements in the security situation has seen the return of most of the displaced families and as of June 30, 2019, only 16,780 families remain temporarily displaced. The improvement of the security situation has seen a shift towards longer-term recovery and development programming. Nevertheless, as this has historically been a neglected region, social indicators remain poor as compared to the national average. According to the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2018 results, 48.3 per cent children under the age of 5 are stunted and 23.1 per cent wasted in newly merged districts, whereas the national average for wasting is 17.7 per cent and stunting stands at 40.2 per cent. The cluster system will be phased out by end December 2019, after which government led response will be used to continue providing residual support through sectoral coordination as required.

HIV and AIDS

Since the HIV outbreak in Larkana district, Sindh in April 2019, 37,526 people have been screened for HIV, with 1,198 (3%) people testing positively. 80 per cent among the people who tested positive are children under 16, and more than half are children aged two to five years old. WHO declared this outbreak as a ‘Grade 2’ emergency as per its Emergency Response Framework. Investigation of the outbreak by WHO revealed that re-use of needles contributed to the outbreak.

Earthquake

On September 24, 2019, an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale struck the districts of Mirpur and Bhimber in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) and the district Jhelum in Punjab affecting around 500,000 people. The worst affected areas include Jattlan, Pulmanda, Afzalpur and Mirpur city. The earthquake resulted in 39 deaths, 746 people injured and damage to more than 7,450 houses, government buildings and schools, of which around two thirds were completely damaged.