Floods in Pakistan: UN warns of deteriorating humanitarian situation – Science et Avenir

The humanitarian situation in flood-hit communities in Pakistan is expected to worsen, the UN said on Tuesday as it arranged for airlift to bring aid to the victims.

Heavy rains in Pakistan in recent weeks have caused the worst flooding in the country’s history.

More than 1,460 health centers were affected, with 432 fully damaged and 1,028 partially damaged, most in Sindh province, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 4,500 health camps have been organized by WHO and its health partners, and 230,000 rapid tests have been distributed for acute watery diarrhoea, malaria, dengue, hepatitis and chikungunya.

During a press briefing in Geneva, WHO Representative Tarik Jasarevic explained that access to flood-affected areas remains difficult, but stressed the urgent need to strengthen disease surveillance.

The current epidemics of Covid-19, acute watery diarrhea, typhoid fever, measles, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, HIV and polio are likely to worsen, according to the WHO.

“We have already received reports of an increase in cases of acute watery diarrhea, typhoid fever, measles and malaria, especially in the most affected areas,” Jasarevic said.

Neonatal mortality and rates of severe acute malnutrition are likely to increase due to the disruption of health services.

“The situation is expected to worsen, especially for the most vulnerable people,” the WHO spokesman said.

– “Urgent” support –

To date, WHO has delivered $1.5 million worth of essential medicines and other supplies, including water purification kits and oral rehydration salt packets, and is calling for $19 million to help affected populations.

Flood-affected people walk through monsoon waters with food bags on their backs on the outskirts of Jakobabad, Pakistan, September 6, 2022. (AFP – Aamir QURESHI)

“There is an urgent need to strengthen disease surveillance, repair damaged sanitation facilities, provide sufficient medicines and medical supplies, and provide psychosocial and psychiatric support to affected communities,” he said, insisting Mr. Jasarevic.

The organization is also preparing to face a worsening situation in the coming months as more monsoon rains are expected.

These floods affected more than 33 million people. A third of Pakistan’s territory was under water, killing at least 1,300 people.

“The scale of the destruction calls for urgent international support,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which also fears “the situation will worsen,” said in a statement.

UNHCR, which is also involved in humanitarian operations, has launched an airlift to bring aid from Dubai.

The first four flights were completed on Monday, director of the UNHCR Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte, told reporters in Geneva. Six more flights are scheduled with mattresses, tarpaulins and kitchen utensils on board.

UNHCR trucks with tents for approximately 11,000 families are also en route from Uzbekistan and additional convoys are planned.

In particular, assistance should be provided to 50,000 households in the most affected areas.

“Food insecurity will be huge because the crops are obviously devastated and what little livestock they had is also destroyed,” Ratwatte said.

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