Sep 05 , 2022
After severe flooding displaced millions of people in Pakistan, health officials have warned of large-scale disease outbreaks.
Following months of torrential rains that left many trapped and without access to clean water, there has been an increase in instances of diarrhoea and malaria.
Authorities are afraid that the spread of waterborne infections following the floods, which killed almost 1,200 people, could put further burden on health-care institutions. According to the World Health Organization, over 880 facilities have been destroyed, and the organization has provided $10 million (£8.6 million) to emergency health aid activities.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said on Wednesday that the agency had classified the floods as the highest level of emergency. He said the threat of waterborne diseases meant access to health services and disease monitoring and controls were a “key priority”.
Arif Jabbar Khan, director of WaterAid Pakistan, has visited Sindh province, province worst affected by the rains, which began in June. He said there was a severe risk of diarrhoea and dysentery because of the lack of clean water.
“Families are now living on the banks of overflowed canals and rivers in ramshackle huts made of bamboo and plastic. They have even been drinking flood water because there is no other option – a recipe for large-scale disease outbreaks. We are doing all we can to reach them,” said Khan.
At least 33 million people have been affected by the floods, which have contaminated water sources and left latrines unusable.