A Monsoon on ‘Steroids’

Torrential monsoon rains have triggered the most severe flooding in Pakistan’s recent history, The United Nations called it a ‘Monsoon on Steroids’ as it washed away villages, leaving millions displaced. Nearly 88 percent of the total nationwide houses have been destroyed or damaged, 1.17 million damaged houses and nearly 566,000 destroyed houses. Over 1.52 million houses are in Sindh, and the province has also recorded the highest number of human casualties i.e. 577 people killed and 8,321 people injured, out of a total of nearly 1,400 deaths and more than 12,700 injuries, including at least 496 children killed and nearly 4,000 children injured across Pakistan.

More than 664,000 people are sheltering in displacement camps, with many lacking adequate shelter and access to adequate food, clean water and sanitation. Estimates indicate that over 1,460 health facilities have been affected by the heavy rains and floods, and the Health Sector reports that access to health facilities, healthcare workers, and essential medicines and medical supplies remain limited.

Early disease surveillance indicates that tens of thousands of people are affected by diarrhea, malaria, acute respiratory infections, skin and eye infections, typhoid and mosquito borne diseases. Initial reports have been received of increased dengue cases in refugee villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) has reportedly affected 45 districts in Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad Capital Territory.

PAMI and its honorable partners and members have been jointly providing relief and medical aid to the flood victims all across Pakistan. The members have been organizing free medical camps for medical assessment of the flood victims, providing them with free medicines and transferring those who need immediate help, to the nearest hospital. Multiple donations have also been collected to provide the displaced people with clean drinking water, food rations, cooked meals, blankets, tents, medicines, clothes, sanitary napkins, mosquito repellents and other basic necessities.

Nearly 650,000 pregnant women and girls, 73,000 of whom are expected to deliver in the next month, have been displaced due to these havoc wrecking floods and are in dire need of medical assistance. PAMI and its members and partners have been collecting donations for them as well and providing birth kits to the affected areas.

It may take months for flood waters to recede and for rehabilitation efforts to reach the hardest hit areas. The damage from the floods is far greater than $10 billion, according to the planning minister, after millions have lost their homes and livelihoods, agricultural land has been washed away along with roads and bridges being damaged. Standing water continues to cover vast areas of the country; preliminarily indicating that at least 75,000 km2 of land appears to be affected by floodwaters, including some 48,530 km2 appearing to be croplands.

Almost 80 percent of crops in Sindh were destroyed. A shortage of food, directly because of the floods ruining agricultural lands, and indirectly because of the price inflation, poses a severe threat to individuals all across the country, especially children. Inadequate diet will lead to malnutrition causing stunting and wasting in children, even those who aren’t directly affected by the flooding.

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