People die from water-borne diseases in flooded Pakistan | Flood news

Islamabad, PakistanWaterborne diseases is a new concern in flood-ravaged Pakistan, with authorities reporting at least nine such deaths in the past 24 hours, according to government data.

All deaths from diarrhea, malaria and gastroenteritis were reported in South East Sindh province, where more than 300 people have died from the disease. flood-related diseases since July.

Sindh officials say more than 500,000 people are still displaced by the disaster and live in makeshift camps across the province.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Tuesday said the death toll in catastrophic floods has increased to 1,559.

Pakistan has been battered by record rains and melting glaciers since mid-June. The floods at one point inundated a third of the country of 220 million people, destroyed more than a million homes and dozens of roads, railways and bridges.

The government, currently facing an economic crisis, has estimated the total financial loss from the floods at $30 billion and has appealed to the global community to for help.

Floods in Pakistan
Flood victims stand next to their tents at a relief camp in Dasht near Quetta [File: Arshad Butt/AP]

Officials in Sindh, home to 48 million people, say more than 137,000 cases of diarrhea, more than 10,000 cases of dysentery and at least 4,000 confirmed cases of malaria have been reported in the province this month. , and they set up 450 medical camps to deal with. health crisis.

“The biggest challenge we are facing is because of malaria and gastroenteritis. We don’t have enough protective nets or medical kits to detect malaria. Aid organizations and the government regularly provide us with necessary materials but the extent of the problem is too great,” Amjad Mastoi, a health official in Sindh’s Dadu district told Al Jazeera.

Shahnawaz Solangi, a 53-year-old teacher in Sindh’s Naushero Feroz district, said his family doesn’t get much help from the government.

“My two children, aged 12 and 18, have had malaria in the last two weeks. We’ve run out of tablets. He told Al Jazeera over the phone.

Solangi said his family of 12 is living in a makeshift house they built on higher ground after their village was swept away a month ago. “We didn’t have any family in other cities so we, along with some other people in the village, decided to stay,” he said.

Last week, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of a health disaster lurking in Pakistan.

“I am extremely concerned about the possibility of a second disaster in Pakistan: the wave of disease and deaths following this disaster, related to climate changethat has severely impacted critical health systems leaving millions of people vulnerable,” he said in a statement.

The head of WHO said pregnant women are at risk in the affected areas. “All of this means more and more unsafe births, untreated diabetes or heart disease, and more children going unvaccinated, but some impact on health,” he said. strong.

In August, the United Nations Population Fund warned that more than 650,000 pregnant women in flood-affected areas needed urgent maternal health services, with at least 73,000 women attending Ants will give birth in September.

Dr Khalid Memon, a health official in Sindh, told Al Jazeera that they were compiling data on pregnant women sheltering in makeshift camps.

“Our district health officers are deployed across all affected areas and so far we have enrolled at least 9,500 pregnant women,” he said.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said many villages remained inaccessible and a true picture of the spread of the disease and the displacement of people would only appear when the water receded.

She told Al Jazeera: “Floods have engulfed most of the roads and highways… Boats are being deployed as a means not only to save lives but also as mobile medical camps.

“We are also asking medical colleges to send their seniors to support flood relief efforts.”

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