Malaria, skin infections, diarrhoea and other sicknesses are running rampant in parts of Pakistan’s flood-ravaged regions, killing 324 people, authorities said on Wednesday, adding that the situation may get out of control if adequate aid doesn’t arrive.
Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living out in the open at the mercy of the elements. The floodwaters in Pakistan are spread over hundreds of square kilometres, and the time it may take for the water to recede may take two to six months.
Imagine ALL of England & Wales under 2-10 feet of water, and more than half of the UK’s population without ANY livelihood or shelter.
That’s the scale of the Pakistan floods.
Please, continue to raise awareness. pic.twitter.com/ryMZVUzEVG
— Shahmir Sanni (@shahmiruk) September 15, 2022
With Pakistan’s already weak health system and lack of support, displaced families have complained of being forced to drink and cook with the disease-ridden water.
“We know it can sicken us, but what to do, we have to drink it to stay alive,” flood victim Ghulam Rasool told local Geo News TV.
“The aid is slow to arrive,” said Dr Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ country director for Pakistan after visiting several submerged regions. She added that Health and nutrition stand out as the most important needs of the displaced population.
"There are still parts of the country where people are still stranded."
Dr Farah Naureen. Mercy Corps country director, tells Sky News the scale of floods across Pakistan has been "unprecedented".https://t.co/QwRVR8ixBv
? Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/74N6l0jKch
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 3, 2022
On Wednesday, the Sindh provincial government said that makeshift health facilities and mobile camps in the flooded areas had treated more than 78,000 patients in the last 24 hours, and more than 2 million since July 1. Out of them, six died, it said.
Deaths emerging from diseases are not included in the 1,569 people who were killed in flash floods, including 555 children and 320 women, the country’s disaster management agency said on Wednesday.
A historic and intense monsoon dumped about three times as much rain on Pakistan as the three-decade average, which caused unprecedented flooding.
The deluge has affected nearly 33 million people in the South Asian nation of 220 million, sweeping away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock. The damages of the flood are estimated at USD 30 billion.
Officials are warning they are now at risk of losing control over the spread of the infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) described the situation as “utterly heartbreaking”.