UN childrens agency rushes relief supplies to floodravaged Pakistan

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In the wake of Cyclone Yemyin, flooding has affected over 800,000 people in Balochistan, with officials reporting dozens of villages being submerged, thousands forced to flee their homes and damage to roads and bridges.UNICEF has supplied to Balochistan’s Government 740,000 water purification tablets, 33,600 blankets and 4,000 jerry cans, as well as tents, and 50 tons of Unmix, a nutrient-rich food supplement for women and children.The agency has already sent two emergency health kits, which can address the immediate health needs of 20,000 people for three months, to the most affected districts.UNICEF is working with the national and provincial Governments and with other UN agencies as well as with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).Also in Pakistan, a new stage of a UN-backed national measles campaign – the country’s largest ever – was launched today, aiming to reach over 63 million children by March 2008.This campaign, led by the Pakistani Government, will be a major step in reaching the global goal of slashing measles deaths by 90 per cent by 2010. More than 20,000 children in the South Asian nation die yearly from measles and its complications.Between 2 and 18 July, 1.5 children between the ages of nine months and 13 years will be vaccinated in eight districts of Balochistan. This process will be conducted in phases throughout the country until next March.The first stage began this March in four districts, and reached 96 per cent of children in the target age group.This current phase in Balochistan will mobilize 600 vaccination teams comprising over 3,000 trained health staff and volunteers to reach children in remote rural areas.The scheme receives financial and technical support from the Measles Initiative, comprising the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the American Red Cross and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In another development, ahead of tomorrow’s planned closure by the Pakistani Government of two Afghan refugee camps, the UN refugee agency is urging officials and refugees to engage in a dialogue to ensure the process is peaceful.The decision to close the camps was reached last year in a tripartite meeting among the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Pakistan and Afghanistan.The two camps closing house over 82,000 registered Afghans, and the refugees were given two options by the Pakistani Government: to repatriate to Afghanistan with UNHCR assistance, or to relocate to an existing camp in Pakistan. 29 June 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is rushing emergency supplies – including tents food, medicine, hygiene supplies and equipment – to people hit by heavy rains in the western Pakistani province of Balochistan.

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