The U.N. Children's Fund says it is deeply concerned about the
condition of thousands of children who have been displaced by conflict
in northwestern Pakistan. UNICEF says children are in urgent need of
health, education and other services.
The U.N. Children's Fund
reports nearly half of the estimated two million people displaced by
conflict in Pakistan's Swat Valley are children.
It says many
are in urgent need of health and educational services, nutritional
support, access to clean water and sanitation, as well as protection.
It says these problems are made even more difficult by the sweltering
UNICEF says it is particularly concerned that some
700,000 children will miss out on the coming school year. School is
supposed to start in September. But, the agency says 3,700 schools may
not be available for classes because they are being used to house
150,000 internally displaced people.
Veronique Taveau, says her agency has set up so-called child friendly
spaces in the camps as a stopgap measure. She says these spaces have
recreational and school learning equipment to help children get back to
some semblance of normality.
She says children in the camps are
better off than the tens of thousands of children who are living with
family and friends in host communities.
"The problem we have at
the moment is for us to be able to reach those families and those
children that are in those communities, sometimes in remote spaces
where we cannot have access," Taveau explained. "So, that is the
concern we have at the moment because we know that some of those
families and some of those children they are lacking almost everything
like potable water, drinking water, hygiene and schooling."
between government forces and Taliban militants erupted toward the end
of April. Within three weeks, about two million people had fled their
homes. The speed and magnitude of the crisis surprised the government
and aid agencies and has put an enormous strain of their ability to
About 10 percent or 200,000 of the displaced
are sheltering in camps, which are providing for their essential
needs. But, the vast majority or 1.8 million people are living in host
UNICEF says children and families are living in
cramped conditions with limited aid in these communities. It says the
monsoon season will soon begin and children, many of whom are
malnourished, are at great risk of contracting water borne and other
It says its humanitarian efforts are being hampered by
lack of funds. It says it has raised less than a third of the $543
million needed to support 1.7 million IDPs for six months.