ISLAMABAD (AP) — Devastating floods in Pakistan’s worst-hit province killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday, as the U.N. children’s agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims.
Only a third of the amount in the funding appeal has been met so far, UNICEF said in a statement. Pakistani doctors and medics are struggling to contain an outbreak of waterborne diseases, malaria and dengue fever among hundreds of thousands of survivors now living in tents in the southern province of Sindh.
Unprecedented monsoon rains and floods, which many experts attribute to climate change, have affected 33 million people and killed up to 1,569 people across the country since mid-June.
Of this number, 701 people – including 293 children and 131 women – have died in Sindh, where many areas remain submerged. Hollywood actress and UN humanitarian Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to Sindh on Tuesday, meeting some of the flood victims.
UNICEF reported that more than 3.4 million children have been uprooted from their homes and floods have killed more than 550 children across Pakistan.
“Without a significant increase in support, we fear that many more children will lose their lives,” UNICEF said in a statement.
In Sindh, many of the roads and bridges have been washed away or severely damaged, and thousands of families remain cut off and in desperate need of support. “Families have no food, safe water or medicine,” the agency said.
UNICEF has set up 71 mobile health camps and temporary schools for children in the flood-affected areas. But its appeal for $39 million is still less than a third funded, UNICEF added. This amount is part of the United Nations’ appeal for $160 million to support Pakistan’s flood response.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif met with world leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, calling for more help from the international community to deal with record-breaking floods.
In a televised message from New York, Sharif on Wednesday urged philanthropists to urgently and generously donate baby food for children affected by the floods. “God will reward you for this noble work,” he said.
The United Nations on Wednesday expressed concern over rising cases of waterborne diseases among flood survivors. “We are deeply concerned about the very real possibility of a wave of death and disease already stretching its tentacles. A second disaster looms on the horizon,” the UN said in a statement.
It said over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the flood-hit Sindh region just last week.
“Millions of children are still struggling to survive and we fear that thousands more will not make it,” the UN said, adding that 6 children had died in the previous word in Sindh.
Pakistan’s infrastructure and agriculture have also been decimated, raising concerns of an impending food crisis. Authorities say the damage caused by the floods is at least $30 billion.