Pakistan flood-borne diseases could get ‘out of control’ as deaths rise

KARACHI: At least nine more people have died from water-borne diseases in flooded areas of Pakistanofficials said Tuesday, as actress Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to the South Asian country to meet with those affected by the crisis.
According to the disaster management agency, an intense and prolonged monsoon has pelted Pakistan with three times more rain than average in recent weeks, causing massive flooding that has killed 1,559 people. including 551 children and 318 women, according to the disaster management agency.
Officials are warning that they risk losing control of the spread of infections in a dire situation that UNICEF describes as “too bleak”.
Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living outdoors and as floodwaters spread for hundreds of kilometers (miles) begin to recede – which officials say could take two to six months – stagnant water led to diseases such as malaria, dengue fever. fever, skin and eye infections and acute diarrhea.
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie traveled to Pakistan and visited flood-affected communities in Dadu district, one of the hardest hit areas in southern Pakistan.
She met a number of women now living in tents, according to the international aid organization IRC, which is facilitating the visit. They described their struggles and told her they needed food, water and medical care.
Jolie, who has devoted herself to international humanitarian causes for more than a decade, also visited Pakistan after the deadly floods in 2010.
“Second Liberation”
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the rise of diseases threatens to lead to a “second catastrophe”.
“The epidemic has broken out,” said Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s Planning Minister and head of a national flood response center jointly run by the government and military.
“We are worried that it might get out of control,” he told a news conference in Islamabad.
In SindhIn the region hardest hit by floods, the provincial government said nine people had died from gastroenteritis, acute diarrhea and suspected malaria on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths from the epidemic to 318. from 1/7.
More than 2.7 million people have been treated for water-borne illnesses at makeshift or mobile hospitals set up in flood-affected areas since July 1, with 72,000 being treated at facilities. This office is only available on Mondays.
Three other provinces have also reported thousands of cases.
This influx has overwhelmed Pakistan’s already weak healthcare system. The Sindh provincial government said more than 1,200 medical facilities were still submerged in floodwaters.
Moinuddin Siddique, Director of the Abdullah Shah Institute of Health Sciences in Sehwan City, Sehwan City, which is surrounded by floodwaters, malaria and diarrhea are spreading rapidly. “We were overwhelmed,” he told Reuters.
At the press conference, planning minister Iqbal called on wealthy members of society to help with flood relief efforts, and asked medical volunteers to join hands with the government.
He called for the purchase of two million nutrition packs for pregnant mothers and newborn babies, saying the government is setting up more hospitals and mobile clinics in affected areas.
Record monsoon rains and melting ice in northern Pakistan caused flooding that affected nearly 33 million people in the South Asian nation of 220 million, sweeping away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock with damage estimated at 30 billion USD. Scientists say the disaster has been exacerbated by climate change.
The government said GDP growth is likely to slow to 3% from its previous estimate of 5% for the 2022-23 financial year.
The organization says an estimated 16 million children have been affected by the floods and at least 3.4 million girls and boys need immediate lifesaving assistance.
Gerida Birukila, Director of UNICEF Pakistan in the Southwest Balochistan province, described the situation as “deeply heartbreaking.”
The children were surrounded by puddles of standing water tainted with fertilizers and swarming with diseases and viruses, sometimes feet (feet) away from where they slept, she said at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday. , according to a statement.
“Many families have no choice but to drink disease-ridden water,” she said.

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