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 and they are in urgent need of health and educational services, nutritional support, access to clean water and sanitation, as well as protection. These problems are made even more difficult by the scorching summer heat.
700,000 children will miss out on the coming school year going to start in September. Around 3,700 schools may not be available for classes because they are being used to house 150,000 internally displaced people.
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 communities. UNICEF has set up so-called child friendly spaces in the camps as a stopgap measure having recreational and school learning equipment to help children get back to some semblance of normality. But tens of thousands of children who are living with family and friends in host communities are missing the opportunity to get use to with schooling. It is hard to reach all of them in remote areas and get first hand knowledge of them.
UNICEF says children and families are living in cramped conditions with limited aid in these communities. The monsoon season will soon begin and children, many of whom are malnourished, are at great risk of contracting water borne and other diseases.