PAKISTAN: Children suffer in continuing aftermath of 2010 floods

KARACHI, 29 July 2011 (IRIN) - A year after the most devastating floods in living memory in Pakistan ravaged an area the size of the UK along the River Indus, affecting at least 18 million people, according to the UN, a series of reports by humanitarian organizations say victims of the disaster are continuing to suffer. Oxfam points out that 800,000 families remain without proper shelter and says: “As Pakistan faces another monsoon season and the likelihood of more disasters, the country is not prepared. Many factors which have hampered the relief and reconstruction effort are still present, such as an inadequate disaster management system and a lack of emergency relief coordina...

IRAQ: Youth unemployment driving emigration

BAGHDAD, 20 July 2011  - A just released national youth survey in Iraq says youth unemployment is running at over 20 percent and many young people are thinking of emigrating. Up to 23 percent of males and 21 percent of females aged 15-24 are unemployed, according to a 2009 National Youth Survey by the government and the UN Population Fund (released on 16 July). Of these, 33 percent intend to go abroad in search of work, it said. “The youth are the mainstay of every society; they are an energy-producing force but are at the same time a source of grave danger when they do not have jobs and opportunities for a decent life,” the 189-page report noted. Young people, it warned,...

NEPAL: No clear route out of servitude for indentured girls

Kathamandu, 2 July 2011 (IRIN) - Efforts to free thousands of enslaved girls in Nepal and get them into school need more funding and less government bureaucracy, activists say. Since the year 2000, more than 11,000 Kamlaris, girls committed to indentured servitude by their parents, have been rescued. But without financial support, those freed remain impoverished and some say they are forced to consider returning to work as Kamlaris. “Many of my friends are now planning to resume their life as Kamlaris and this really worries me,” 20-year-old Urmila Chaudhary, an ex-Kamlari, told IRIN. She was barely six when her parents sold her to work in a rich household in Kathmandu. In ...

IRAQ: A bad place for children

Baghdad, 4 July 2011 - Decades of war and international sanctions have turned Iraq into one of the worst places for children in the Middle East and North Africa, with around 3.5 million living in poverty, 1.5 million under the age of five undernourished and 100 infants dying every day, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warns. The government can and should do more for children, said Sikander Khan, the outgoing UNICEF representative in Iraq, in a 30 June interview with the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq. “It is the responsibility of the government to support parents by investing in health and education and other basic needs for all children… Central government can also take a signi...

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