Kabul/ Islamabad: Children in earthquake-hit areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan are facing further deadly threats as extreme conditions and insecurity cut off communities from aid – warns UNICEF.
Around 200 people died, including 12 school girls, and around 1,000 were injured after the 7.5 magnitude tremor – with half of those affected thought to be children.
Heavy rain and snow have been pounding the remote, mountainous areas affected by the earthquake for the past two days. Communication is poor and access difficult due to the tough terrain and security operations.
“We are extremely concerned for the safety and well being of children, who are already the most at risk in any disaster and are now in danger of succumbing to the elements as temperatures plummet,” says Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia.
Some of the areas hit by the quake are completely inaccessible, whilst much of the rest of the affected region is difficult to reach even in ordinary circumstances.
UNICEF Afghanistan and Pakistan are working with their national governments and are prepared to deliver life-saving supplies to tens of thousands of affected children and their families.
UNICEF is warning that health, nutrition, hygiene and education services will now be under exceptional stress, placing more children at risk.