Dozens of Pakistani Children Die in Drought-stricken Region
March 11, 2014 2:58 PM EST
Dozens of children have died of malnutrition and other causes in Pakistan's southern region this year, prompting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to travel to the drought-stricken area to allocate $10 million in emergency aid.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said 18 children under the age of five had died in January and another 23 in February.
Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) confirmed the U.N. figures, saying 26 under-five children had also died in December when a severe drought hit the Tharparkar area of the southern region of Sindh.
The drought has affected an estimated 900,000 people, according to the Tharparkar deputy commissioner's office.
Sharif flew to the arid region on Monday to promise $10 million in aid.
"The people will soon be able to return to their homes and prosperity will come to these areas," Sharif promised in televised comments. "The situation will improve very soon."
The extreme dry weather is compounding the plight of the impoverished farming region, where health services are poor and unemployment is high.
Hazem el Mahi, a UNOCHA spokesman, said it was too early to say exactly what was causing the spike in child mortality, but that it was a combination of infections and maternal and child malnutrition.
"We are not aware of adult deaths so far," he said.
"We have started a joint assessment with the Pakistan government only today and we can't know the real situation on the ground until the assessment is complete."
Pakistani media said the children were dying due to drought-related malnutrition. No figures for deaths in March have been released.
Local media have said relief goods were not reaching the affected area promptly. One report said 60,000 sacks of flour had been dispatched to Sindh but only 900 had been distributed.
"He (Sharif) directed to ensure swift provision of edible commodities, drinking water and medicine to the people," the prime minister's office said in a statement. It said Sharif had also ordered strict action against those responsible for "negligence" in distributing wheat in Tharparkar.
NDMA director Raza Iqbal attributed the distribution problems to delays in paying transport companies. "There are administration issues," he said, but gave no details.
Provincial authorities, relief groups and political parties have sent food, medicine and other items to the drought-hit areas.
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- HIV/AIDS Cure a Step Closer with Anti-Cancer Drugs 'Kicking' Virus Out of Infected Cells
- Dwayne Johnson Talks About Overcoming Depression
- 232 Teeth Extracted from a Teenager: World Record
- Johns Hopkins Hospital Agrees To Pay $190 Million To Settle Gynaecology Scandal
- Paris Hilton Quits Junk Food: A High Fat Diet Could Destroy Your Sense of Smell, Study
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales
- Sony Xperia M2 vs. Moto G – Specifications, Features and Price Showdown