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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Pakistan: flood-affected people faces risk of hunger and disease

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Representative image by PTI

Pakistan’s alarming flood situation pose a risk of hunger and disease for hundreds and thousands of flood-affected people left scrambling for shelter and aid after the devastating rains in the country.

660,120 have reported various illnesses at government-run medical camps in flood-affected areas since July, Dawn newspaper reported citing the July-September data.

According to government data, skin ailments and diarrhoeal diseases are rampant in flood-affected areas — a total of 149,551 reported with diarrheal diseases while 142,739 people reported with skin infections.

A total of 132,485 cases of acute respiratory disease, 49,420 cases of suspected malaria, 101 cases of snake-bite and 550 cases of dog-bite, the Pakistani newspaper added.

Dawn’s report said there were 185,274 cases of other illnesses. The World Health Organisation (WHO) today said that over 1290 lives lost and 12,500 people injured. Over 33 million affected, including over 6.4 million in dire need of humanitarian aid. Almost 634,000 displaced people living in camps.

Over 1460 health facilities affected, of which 432 are fully damaged and 1028 are partially damaged. Access to health care facilities, health care workers and essential medicines and medical supplies is limited.

Ongoing outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea, typhoid, measles, leishmaniasis and polio are at risk of being further exacerbated. Increased transmission of malaria remains a threat and many cases are already presenting to clinics in the flood-affected areas.

Early disease surveillance indicates that tens of thousands have been identified as patients affected by diarrhoea, malaria, acute respiratory infections, skin and eye infections, typhoid and others.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said they are following closely and with deep concern the humanitarian crisis currently facing the people of Pakistan as a result of devastating monsoon floods.

“The current scale of damage and destruction due to the floods is like none seen before in Pakistan – a result of long-term global climate change leading to more severe weather conditions,” said Al-Mandhari.

He said tens of millions of people are now forced to use unsafe water, both to drink and for their daily needs; they are also exposed to the elements due to flood damage and destruction of their homes, and many are displaced.

“This has resulted in increased exposure to diseases already circulating in the country, including acute watery diarrhoea, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid, measles and leishmaniasis,” he added.

According to WHO, early disease surveillance reports are already showing an increase in cases of diarrhoea, malaria and typhoid. Other diseases in the country, such as polio and COVID-19, are also at increased risk of spreading if the situation is not rapidly contained.

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