One-third of Pakistan is under water due to the monsoon rains that hit the country, affecting 33 million people. The impacted area is increasing, with 72 districts across Pakistan having already been declared 'calamity hit' by the authorities, according to the Pakistan 2022 Floods Response Plan.
Although in-country efforts are ongoing to support people affected, international solidarity is essential to address the impacts effectively. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently appealed for “a massive and urgent financial support for Pakistan”.
At the time of writing, more than 1,000 people have died as a result of the flooding. Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, said “one-third of those who have died are believed to be children”. In addition, provisional data from provincial Education Departments show that at least 26,222 schools have been damaged or destroyed because of the floods, and over 7,652 schools are being used as shelters and which will require cleaning and renovation later. Moreover, the use of schools as shelters is affecting the resumption of learning activities in the ongoing academic year. In addition, teaching and learning materials including education infrastructure worth millions of rupees have been destroyed as well.
The Pakistan Floods Response Plan (September 2022 – February 2023) highlights that more than 3.5 million children’s education is being interrupted, with 672,000 school-age children in need of support. US$ 10.2 million is required to meet the needs of the 255,000 children targeted.
The Education Sector Working Group (ESWG) is helping coordinate the response. Priorities include ensuring continuity of learning in safe learning environment and to restore a sense of normalcy. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has pledged a First Emergency Response investment to support the response.
In support of the ESWG, the Global Education Cluster (GEC) is providing technical expertise to develop and update information products, as well as analyzing the results of field assessments in affected districts. These efforts notwithstanding, much more is required to address the urgent needs.
Ehsan Ullah, UNCEF Education Officer and the Coordinator ESWG says: “In the wake of the devastation caused by the monsoon floods to schools it is crucial children have a secure learning environment both while they are displaced and when they return home.”