Rubina Qaimkhani Pakistan has been hit by the worst-ever floods in living memory with millions of people affected. The loss of infrastructure is incredible. Pakistans brilliant strategic asset, resource and wealth i.e. six million children are suffering from devastating floods: lost, orphaned or stricken with diseases. They are indeed the most vulnerable victims of the nations worst-ever natural disaster. Millions have been hit by the floods. Millions had lost their livelihoods, as I have personally witnessed heart-wrenching scenes of destruction in Sindh and South Punjab. Many have lost families and friends, while many more are in a state of panic. It is clear that the people of Pakistan will need support from all over the world. In this context, the international donors community is particularly concerned and it has showed its interest to provide generous funding and assistance for child related programmes and projects. Nevertheless, child welfare is an important but the most neglected sector in Pakistan. It is, however, need of the hour to examine this catastrophe from the childrens perspective. A special task force or National Consortium on Children can be set up with a vision, mandate and policy guidelines. The task force can add new dimensions to child rehabilitation and development on priority basis. This consortium can be tasked to build a long-term, strategic partnership and coalition building on children related issues, thus strengthening the impact of collective work and relief efforts undertaken by the provincial and federal governments in this context. The consortium can also help explore ways to increase effectiveness of programmes by generating and sharing resources and evaluating things from a fresh perspective. The consortiums mandate should be to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the child rights perspective, as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The exclusive consortium can visualise a rights-based perspective flowing into national policies and programmes, along with nuanced responses at the provincial and district levels, taking care of the specificities and strengths of each province. In order to touch every child, it must seek deeper penetration to communities and households. The consortium should see an indispensable role for the state institutions, sound institution-building processes, respect for decentralisation at the level of the local bodies at the community level and larger societal concern for children and their well being. It should ensure, protect, promote and defend child rights in the country. Further, the consortium can examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law - for the time being in force - for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation, examining all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of the rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disasters, domestic violence, diseases, trafficking, maltreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography and prostitution, and then recommend appropriate remedial measures. Then it can look into matters relating to children in need of special care and protection, including children in distress, marginalised and disadvantaged children, orphans, juveniles and children of prisoners, and recommend appropriate remedial measures to the federal and provincial governments. The consortium can also undertake national research programmes, besides periodic review of existing policies, programmes, and other activities on child rights and make policy recommendations for effective implementation in the best interest of children. As climatic changes are taking place at a fast pace, new strategies for management are needed. Pakistans prospects for salvaging its troubled economy and coping with terrorism depend, to a great extent, on addressing the post-flood issues and its future generations. The floods have increased Pakistans vulnerabilities at a time when it is already combating extremism and terrorism that threatens the Pakistani state and society. The floodwater will start receding in weeks but the post-flood human tragedy is expected to haunt Pakistan for a long time. The most challenging task will be the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-affected people, especially children the beautiful flowers of Pakistan. If this work is not done in a systematic, efficient and transparent manner, it will produce catastrophic consequences not only for government, but also for the future of our generations. In the relief camps established in schools, colleges and in tent villages on the edge of towns and by roadways, children are prostate from the heat, sick from dirty drinking water, or simply trying to find space or work. The weather has made their lives miserable. The tent villages have no electricity. The rains have gone, only to be replaced by heat and humidity. Flies buzz everywhere and the smell of faeces wafts through the camps and flood-affected areas. The children are facing food and shelter problems. I have personally seen children crying. Many walked naked without shoes, and a foul stench pervades the air due to people urinating and defecating next to the tents. Doctors at the camps field hospital say most of the children are suffering from gastroenteritis, skin diseases and dehydration caused by filth and infection that has resulted from the destruction of sewers in the floods. In addition, there are trauma and psychological problems facing children, who have been orphaned or separated from their parents. In Punjab and Sindh, the people fleeing flooded homes have headed towards tent camps. Life was already so difficult, but now it is more pitiable and doomed. If the concerned authorities fail to take timely steps and design strategic planning, the massive relief effort that the Government of Pakistan and international community is trying to mobilise in one of the biggest ever aid operations will fail to get the required results. As a final word, child means beauty, hope and innocence. Children are the saplings of today which will become shadowy fruit bearing trees of tomorrow. They are our real wealth and strategic asset and we must protect them. The writer is MNA and Chairperson NA Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Special Education. Email: