Floodwaters continue to submerge villages in Sindh, recent reports state that the kutcha area of Khanpur near Kotri has been inundated. The nation’s massive flooding has destroyed about 3.5 million houses in different parts of the four provinces. It seems clear that the crisis may further deepen as the waters are yet to recede. At the same time, both local and international NGOs and government departments continue efforts to confront the numerous challenges posed by the floods. Medium and long-term planned interventions are underway with the hopes that the flood waters will recede.
Communities face a myriad of challenges with no immediate end in sight. Millions of children are at great risk of diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, malaria, and gastroenteritis as unhygienic conditions prevail. At least 23 children have died due to gastroenteritis while 12 children have died at relief camps. The loss of children adds to the miseries of the aftermath of the disaster for the flood affected families. Greater humanitarian assistance is required to prevent the death of more children from treatable illnesses.
Recently, media sources revealed that within the next three months about 100,000 births are expected in flood affected areas. The lack of adequate facilities and pre and post natal care are a great concern for expecting mothers and their families. While reproductive health kits for 35,000 people for three months had been given to the provinces to cope with the emergency, government officials express worries of providing a safe environment to over 500,000 expectant mothers in the flood affected areas. Furthermore, approximately 35,000 female health workers have been affected by the floods, placing additional strain on the health system and its ability to meet the needs of the affected population, particularly women.
The requirement of necessary vitamins and ample nutrition for expectant mothers also places them at further risk in an environment surrounded by challenges. Insufficient quality and quantity of food increases the risk of undernourishment which could lead to complicated deliveries and pose threats to both mother and baby. CWS-P/A’s health team reports that the majority of consultations are with women and children, thus, further supporting concerns that they are at greater risk of health related problems.
Support to meet the medical needs of the affected population is crucial for preventing a second disaster in terms of human loss. Efforts to restore function of existing health facilities and efforts such as mobile health units are necessary to provide treatment to the thousands in need. Additionally, special consideration is required to ensure that these services are available to women and the economically worst off segments of society who cannot afford to reach the few operational health facilities.
CWS-P/A in its preventive and curative health initiatives continues to provide consultations to thousands of people affected by the floods in Mansehra, Kohistan, and Swat through operating mobile and basic health units. The three mobile health units have treated 2,446 patients as of August 23. This includes 44 antenatal and 6 postnatal consultations as well as 398 children under the age of five.
This week’s distribution is ongoing. As of August 24, food packages were distributed to 3,703 individuals in D. I. Khan. In Sibi, Balochistan, approximately 32 tons of food items were distributed to 1,610 individuals. Distribution of almost 20 tons of food is ongoing in Kohistan. Distribution of food packages, NFIs, and tents will continue in these areas while distribution in Swat and Khairpur will start in the coming days.
Allan A. Calma
Disaster Management Program
Cell: +92 301 5801621
Cell: +92 332 5586134
Head of Communication
Cell: +92 302 5156273