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Policy for flood-affected women and children on the cards

ISLAMABAD: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will launch a policy for supporting flood-affected women and children on October 7.

NDMA chairman Dr Zafar Qadir while addressing a donor’s meeting said NDMA has established the “Gender-Child Cell” to deal specifically with issues faced by women and children, since their physical weakness and the social conditions made them more vulnerable.

The attendees at the meeting were informed that almost 8.7 million people, including 2.8 million women and children, were affected by the floods.

Nighat Siddiqui, an official handling the cell, said a course of action focusing on gender equality and protection concerns will be included in all processes of disaster management. The cell is working in collaboration with international organisations on the basis of a referral mechanism, which will help identify cases that require interim care, she said. The cell will eventually provide family reunification for missing, unaccompanied and separated children, she added.

Mengesha Kebede, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative, on the occasion was of the view that “registration is protection”. He said that until complete details of the affected people were accessed, it would be difficult to pinpoint their needs.

Giving a detailed presentation on the findings of UNHCR, the commission’s deputy representative Maya Ameratunga urged that difficulties faced by individuals with disabilities, loss of documents, and individuals separated from their families, are some of the problems that should be taken into consideration while drawing a concrete framework.

Child protection specialist from United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Elizabeth Cossor said the body has established a child protection working group to protect children from violence, exploitation and neglect, and to look after their health and education. She suggested that 600 child-friendly places should be established to accommodate 300,000 flood affected children.

Source: The Express Tribune

Date:9/26/2011

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