PAKISTAN FLOOD UPDATE: Plan increases child protection work

Fears grow for the health and safety of children in flood camps

TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - In a country where child protection was already a growing  issue, thousands more children in Pakistan will be put at risk as a result of the displacement caused by the flood crisis.

"There are limited arrangements for families' security and safety, and the likelihood of children being abducted and abused can be a serious issue as camps start to overcrowd," said Plan's country director in Pakistan, Haider Waseem Yaqub. "We have to act quickly and effectively to protect these children."

"Families are being registered upon their arrival in the camps in some districts, however absolutely no attention has been given to child protection issues, so we are working to address some of these gaps," added Haider.

Women and children make up the majority of the people in the camps as the men head home to salvage what they can from their flood-ravaged homes. But without both parents to supervise, many children can get separated amid the confusion of the camps.

Even before the floods, a recent study by Plan International found that missing children cases were on the rise in a country already suffering from major security issues and natural disasters. In the 18-month period preceding the floods, 4,300 children went missing from Pakistan's major cities. While reasons can vary, with some children running away to escape abuse or poverty, many are also abducted, trafficked or sold into the sex trade. The total number will certainly be higher given the current devastation, as children are always most vulnerable in times of crisis.

Before the flood, Plan had set up child protection training for Pakistan's police force. Currently, Plan staff are raising awareness of child protection issues with volunteers and parents in the camps through training, posters, and orientation sessions.

Plan in action

  • Plan is leading child protection initiatives and psychosocial support sessions for children experiencing distress caused by the disaster - this is Plan's area of expertise.
  • Plan is distributing hygiene kits in 6 districts of Punjab and Sindh, containing disinfectant, detergent, sanitary towels, toothpaste and other essential items.
  • To date Plan has provided cooked food to over 282,800 people, distributed special child nutrition packs, set up tents to provide families with shelter, and installed water hand pumps in the camps.

For Charity Listings: Donations made to Plan Canada for Pakistan relief efforts between August 2 and September 12 will be eligible for matching.  Go to www.plancanada.ca or call 1 800 609 3142 or text HOPE to 30333 to donate $5 to Plan Canada's Pakistan relief.

About Plan
Plan is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people to support social justice for children in developing countries. Founded in 1937 as Foster Parents Plan, and now one of the world's oldest and largest international development agencies, Plan works in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan is dedicated to  improving  the lives of children. For more information, visit plancanada.ca

SOURCE Plan Canada

For further information: For further information:

To speak with a Plan expert in Canada or Pakistan: please contact: Kristy Payne, Plan Canada: 416 568-6525, ext 211, kpayne@plancanada.ca.

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