UK to help 200,000 children get back to school in Pakistan

Nearly five months after the floods first hit Pakistan and with winter bringing near freezing temperatures at night, the UK also announced shelter for 25,000 people.

It also announced basic health care for more than half a million people over the next six months and support to help around one million people in rural areas to earn a living by providing jobs, skills training, and farming tools, seeds, animals so families can restart farming.

Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said: "It is nearly five months since the devastating floods first hit Pakistan."

The situation in the south is still critical with millions still without adequate shelter, while people in areas where water has receded have returned to what's left of their homes to try to start rebuilding their lives.

"That's why today I've announced help for 25,000 people to build more permanent homes, support for one million people to  start earning a living again, and health care for half a million people to try to avoid a crisis like the one in Haiti."

"And with the school year well underway, it's vital we get children back to school, which is why we're helping to get some 200,000 girls and boys back in to education" across Sindh and Punjab.

An estimated five million school aged children are affected by the floods in Pakistan, with more than 10,000 schools damaged or destroyed. Hundreds more are still being used as temporary housing in the south of Pakistan.

With half the adult population illiterate, and only 57 per cent children enrolled in primary school before the floods hit, getting as many children as possible back into education is critical for Pakistan to become the prosperous, stable country it has the potential to be.

Today's announcement comes out of the 134 million pounds previously committed by Mitchell on September 20, 2010.

The devastating floods in Pakistan have affected 20 million people, and nearly two million homes; 10,000 schools, hundreds of bridges, roads, electricity pylons and more than two million hectares of crops have been destroyed or damaged, as well as one million farm animals and six million poultry lost.

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