Pakistan floods: the health threats faced by the displaced are even deadlier than the floods itself
Pakistan has experienced torrential monsoon rains leading to severe flooding which has damaged over 1.1 million homes. A third of Pakistan is under water. More than 600,000 people are sheltering in relief camps, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Those displaced are living in dire conditions with very little food, no access to medications, no sanitation and poor hygiene due to lack of clean water.
What are the health threats faced by the displaced?
The ongoing impact of the floods presents several health threats including increased risk of mosquito borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, and waterborne diseases such acute diarrhea, typhoid, Hepatitis A and cholera due to lack of sanitation, hygiene and proper living quarters. These living conditions also increase the risk of skin conditions as well as snake, scorpion and dog bites.
Pakistan has been affected by the worst climate change induced calamity, and children and women are suffering the brunt of it. As people are drinking contaminated water, waterborne diseases will lead to far more deaths than the floods itself. According to Dr. Azra Pechuho, 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria have been reported in Sindh, one of the worst affected provinces.
The World Health Organization has declared Pakistan’s flooding a grade 3 emergency, the highest health level emergency and has released 10 million dollars from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) to treat the injured, deliver health supplies and prevent outbreaks. The United Nations International Children’s Fund is also focused on providing children and families with essential medicines, vaccines, safe delivery kits, safe drinking water and water-treating tablets, and sanitation supplies, nutrition supplies, and mosquito nets.
Approximately 33 million people have been affected, out of which 6 million people need urgent help. The floods have displaced 650,000 women who are pregnant and approximately 3 million children who need immediate assistance.
Khair is working with Mama Baby Fund to provide safe delivery kits to pregnant women who are expected to deliver soon. So far, 1150 safe delivery kits have been delivered to expectant mothers. 650,000 pregnant women have been affected. These displaced women will require help for many months to come.
Roshan Pakistan Academy is working towards providing the displaced populations with immediate assistance by supplying dignity kits for women, mosquito nets, dry food, milk, diapers, and medications.
Pakistan is undergoing a humanitarian crisis and we must come together to help all those affected in the months to come.