WHO raises alarm on disease in flood-hit areas of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — The World Health Organization on Saturday sounded the alarm about a “second disaster” in the wake of deadly floods in Pakistan this summer, as doctors and medical workers fear water-borne diseases and Others are engaged in a ground race to fight diseases.

Floodwaters began to recede in the worst-hit provinces this week, but many displaced people – now living in tents and makeshift camps – face the risk of stomach infections, dengue fever and malaria. Which are increasing. Dirty and standing water has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Unprecedented monsoon rains from mid-June, Which many experts associate with climate change, And the resulting floods killed 1,545 people across Pakistan, inundated millions of acres of land and affected 33 million people. 552 children have died in the flood so far.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I am deeply concerned about the potential for a second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of illness and death after this disaster, linked to climate change, which has led to significant health has badly affected the system leaving lakhs of people vulnerable.” , said in a statement.

He said that water supply has been disrupted, people are forced to drink unsafe water. “But if we act quickly to protect health and provide essential health services, we can significantly reduce the impact of this coming crisis.”

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

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

Before his departure, Sharif urged philanthropists and aid agencies to donate baby food for children along with blankets, clothes and other food items for the flood victims, saying they were desperately waiting for aid. are

The provinces of southern Sindh and southwestern Balochistan have been the worst affected – hundreds of thousands of people in Sindh are now living in makeshift homes and officials say it will take months to fully drain the province.

Across the country, floods damaged 1.8 million homes, washed away roads and destroyed nearly 400 bridges, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

About 70 percent of the 300 people tested daily are positive for malaria, said Imran Baloch, head of a government district hospital in Jafarabad district of Dera Allah Yar, Balochistan.

Bloch told The Associated Press that after malaria, typhoid fever and skin infections are most commonly seen among the displaced, who live for weeks in unsanitary conditions.

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

Khalid Mushtaq, who heads a team of doctors from the Al-Khidmat Foundation and the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, said they are treating more than 2,000 patients daily and on a month’s supply of water purification tablets, soap and other items. Also providing inclusive kits.

On Friday, Abdullah Fadal, the representative of the United Nations Children’s Organization in Pakistan, after visiting the flood-affected areas of Sindh, said that an estimated 16 million children have been affected by the floods. UNICEF is “doing everything possible to support affected children and families and protect them from the ongoing threats of waterborne diseases,” he said.

Associated Press writer Geir Molson in Berlin contributed to this report.

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