Situation Update – Pakistan: Health Issues Emerge in Flood-affected Areas

Situation Update – Pakistan: Health Issues Emerge in Flood-affected Areas

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Background:

As the water level continues to rise in the Indus River, hundreds of villages in the riverbed areas of Sindh are being evacuated. A low flood was recorded at the Sukkur and Kotri barrages on Thursday despite a drop in the floodwater at the upstream Guddu Barrage.

Some 27 villages have been inundated by floodwater in Dadu District. In Matiari District, 32 villages met the same fate.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 2,745 villages in Sindh have either been inundated or swamped by flood.  The flood also destroyed crops on approximately 225,000 acres in the province and damaged over 28,000 houses.

A total of 33,190 patients have been treated by 62 health teams deployed in Sindh alone, according to NDMA on August 27, 2013. The leading health concerns reported are acute respiratory infections and skin infections. Gastroenteritis is also highly prevalent.

A local news report also showed people wading in snake infested floodwaters. Snake bites create a health concern and instill fear in displaced families who remain without shelter. Sleeping under the open sky makes them more vulnerable to snake bites.

On August 27, a news report indicated that 47 cases of dengue virus were confirmed across Punjab Province. Approximately, 1,700 people are believed to have the virus, with new cases being reported daily.

Concern also exists for the number of children who are not being vaccinated against childhood diseases as well as for pregnant women who do not have access to pre and postnatal care or proper facilities for safe deliveries. Insufficient access or limited financial means to purchase food also increases the health risks for flood-affected families, particularly children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who are already ill or have other special medical needs.

Limited access to health care and medicines increases these health risks for flood-affected communities. Untreated illness, particularly communicable diseases, place entire communities at risk for outbreaks which could be prevented if timely medical assistance and medicines are provided.

CWS-P/A Response:

CWS-P/A is closely monitoring the situation and the emergency response team is prepared is case further needs arise. CWS-P/A also received requests from local partners in Sindh and Punjab to help them provide assistance to the flood-affected communities.

CWS-P/A provided one-month food packages to 3,575 individuals (550 families) in Thatta District, Sindh. The assistance was possible with financial support from DanChurchAid and UMCOR. Through financial support from Christian Aid, 360 more families will receive food packages over the next two weeks.

In Jacobabad District, Sindh, CWS-P/A is responding to the health needs of families affected by the 2012 floods. The assistance is made possible through financial support from World Renew and with ongoing support will continue to assist families affected by the 2013 floods through the provision of temporary shelter, non-food items, and health services.

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