Zarah Khan, The Associated Press
Islamabad (AP) — The World Health Organization on Saturday warned of a “second disaster” after deadly floods in Pakistan this summer. Physicians and health workers on the ground are racing to combat outbreaks of water-borne diseases and other diseases.
Flooding began to recede in the hardest-hit provinces this week, but many displaced people now living in tents and makeshift camps face a growing threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue fever and malaria. facing more and more. Dirty, stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Unprecedented monsoon rains since mid-June and subsequent flooding, which many experts have linked to climate change, have killed 1,545 people across Pakistan, inundated millions of acres of land, and flooded 33 million people. was affected. As many as 552 children died in the floods.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We are deeply concerned about the possibility of a second disaster in Pakistan. It has severely impacted the system and left millions of people vulnerable.” , said in a statement.
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“Water supplies are disrupted and people are forced to drink unsafe water. But if we act quickly to protect health and provide essential medical services, the impact of this immediate crisis will be greatly impacted. can be reduced to
The WHO Director-General also said nearly 2,000 health facilities have been completely or partially damaged in Pakistan and urged donors to continue their generosity so more lives can be saved. rice field.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif left for New York on Saturday to attend a full face-to-face meeting of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly since the coronavirus pandemic. We appeal for further support from the international community.
Before leaving, Sharif urged philanthropists and aid groups to donate baby food, blankets, clothing and other food items for children to flood victims, who said they were desperately waiting for help. Stated.
Southern Sindh and southwestern Balochistan provinces have been hit hardest, with hundreds of thousands of people in Sindh now living in temporary housing, and authorities will take months to fully drain the provinces. said.
Floods have damaged 1.8 million homes across the country, washed away roads and destroyed nearly 400 bridges, according to the National Disaster Management Agency.
Imran Baluch, head of the government-run district hospital in Jafferabad in Baluchistan’s Dera Allah Yar district, said nearly 70 percent of the 300 people tested daily tested positive for malaria.
After malaria, typhoid fever and skin infections, he is the most commonly seen among displaced people living in unsanitary conditions for weeks, he told The Associated Press.
Pediatrician Sultan Mustafa said he had treated about 600 patients at a field clinic set up by the Dua Foundation charity in Judd district of Sindh. Most of them are women and children with gastrointestinal infections, scabies, malaria and dengue fever.
Alkhidmat Foundation and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association’s team of doctors, Khalid Mushtaq, who is treating more than 2,000 patients a day, also provided kits containing a month’s worth of water purification tablets, soap and other items. I said yes.
On Friday, Abdullah Fadil, head of the United Nations Children’s Agency in Pakistan, said an estimated 16 million children were affected by the floods after visiting flood-affected areas in Sindh province. “We are doing everything we can to support affected children and families and protect them from the ongoing dangers of water-borne diseases,” he said.
Associated Press writer Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
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