Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

The World Health Organization on Saturday raised the alarm of a “second disaster” after deadly floods in Pakistan this summer, as doctors and medical workers on the ground race to fight outbreaks of waterborne and other diseases.

Flooding has begun to recede in the worst-hit provinces this week, but many of the displaced – now living in tents and makeshift camps – increasingly face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue and malaria, which are on the rise. Dirty and stagnant water became breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

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Unprecedented monsoon rains since mid-June, which many experts have linked to climate change, and the ensuing floods have killed 1,545 people across Pakistan, submerged millions of hectares of land and affected 33 million people. As many as 552 children died in the floods.

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“I am deeply concerned about the possibility of another disaster in Pakistan: a wave of disease and death after this disaster, linked to climate change, which has severely affected vital health systems and left millions vulnerable,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. .

“The water supply has been cut off, forcing people to drink contaminated water,” he said. “But if we act quickly to protect health and provide essential health services, we can significantly reduce the impact of this coming crisis.”

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Canadians respond to calls from Pakistan to help fight devastating floods

Canadians respond to Pakistan’s calls for help to fight devastating floods – September 3, 2022

The WHO chief also said that nearly 2,000 health facilities were completely or partially damaged in Pakistan and urged donors to continue to respond generously so that more lives could be saved.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif traveled to New York on Saturday to attend the first in-person gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly since the coronavirus pandemic. Sharif will appeal for more help from the international community to deal with the disaster.

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Before leaving, Sharif called on philanthropists and aid agencies to donate baby food for the children, along with blankets, clothes and other food items for the flood victims, saying they were desperate for help.

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The southern provinces of Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan have been worst hit – hundreds of thousands in Sindh are now living in makeshift homes and authorities say it will take months to completely drain the province’s water supply.

Nationwide, flooding damaged 1.8 million homes, washed away roads and destroyed nearly 400 bridges, according to the National Disaster Management Administration.

Imran Baluch, head of the government district hospital in Jafferabad, in Baluchistan’s Dera Allah Yar district, said that of the 300 people being tested daily, nearly 70% are positive for malaria.

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The UN is asking for $160 million to help Pakistan in the floods

UN seeks $160 million for Pakistan flood relief – 30 August 2022

After malaria, typhoid fever and skin infections are most commonly seen among displaced people, who live for weeks in unsanitary conditions, Baluch told The Associated Press.

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Pediatrician Sultan Mustafa said he treated about 600 patients at a field clinic set up by the charity Dua Foundation in Sindh’s Jhuddo area, mostly women and children with gastrointestinal infections, scabies, malaria or dengue fever.

Khalid Mushtaq, who heads a team of doctors from the Alkhidmat Foundation and the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, said they treat more than 2,000 patients a day and also provide kits containing a month’s supply of water purification tablets, soap and other items.

On Friday, the representative of the UN children’s agency in Pakistan, Abdullah Fadil, said after a visit to the flood-affected areas of Sindh that an estimated 16 million children were affected by the floods. He said UNICEF was doing everything it could “to support affected children and families and protect them from the constant dangers of water-borne diseases.”

© 2022 The Associated Press

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