Pakistan: More than 6.4 million in ‘dire need’ after unprecedented floods |

With over 33 million people affected, representing 15% of Pakistan’s total population, said Dr. Palitha MAHIPALA, World Health Organization (WHO)WHO) Representative in the country.

SomeMore than 6.4 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid,” he saidrush from Islamabad to journalists in Geneva.

Over the past few weeks, record monsoon rains have dumped more than five times the average rainfall in 30 years in several provinces, killing more than 1,200 people and injuring more than 6,000 since June. Nearly 400 children are among the deaths.

More than a million homes lost

With 1.1 million homes washed away and critical infrastructure destroyed like schools, UNICEFRepresentative of Pakistan, Abdullah Fadil, explain that 18,000 schools have been destroyed and thousands of schools are now completely closed… That means children who have been out of school for two years also lose the opportunity to learn.”

Besides the major disruption to the education system, health facilities have also been hit hard, putting the most vulnerable at risk.

The timing couldn’t be worse, as aid agencies have warned of an increase in water-borne and deadly diseases, such as diarrhea, cholera, dengue or malaria.

The risk of disease increases

Pakistan already has high levels of stunting and areas where it is a serious health problem, “Also the areas that are currently flooded,” Mr. Fadil said. “The predicted list of waterborne diseases – diarrhea, cholera, all the diseases you can imagine – will happen and pretty soon, so we need to have to respond to that. “

As rain continues and flooding is likely to worsen in the coming days, it is urgent to scale up disease surveillance, restore damaged medical facilities, and ensure adequate medicine and medical supplies. for affected communities.

“The people affected have told our staff about their traumatic experiences and scars when rain and floodwaters wash away their possessions in minutes,” said Matthew Saltmarsh, a spokesman for the UN Refugee Agency.

“Those who could, rushed to safety on higher ground without being able to rescue their belongings. Shelter, clean drinking water and food are the most essential in the aftermath of flooding.”

Torrential monsoon rains have caused the Indus River to overflow its banks, submerging tens of kilometers of land, according to recent images from the European Space Agency.

The loss of crops and livestock has a significant impact on both the livelihoods and nutrition of the affected communities.

WFP is present in Sanghar, Sindh, registering those affected by severe floods for food distribution.

WFP / Kapil Dev

WFP is present in Sanghar, Sindh, registering those affected by severe floods for food distribution.

‘Global challenge’

“We have a big problem in the area and a specific global challenge in ensuring that the support needed to restore and operate agricultural production in Pakistan, to feed its people, as well as to continue to provide food for colleagues and brothers next door in Afghanistan,” warns Chris Kaye, WFPPakistan Country Director.

Neighboring Afghanistan has also been hit hard by floods that have occurred as the country struggles to recover from a series of natural disasters.

Mr. Matthew Saltmarsh noted that millions of people have found refuge in Pakistan over the past 40 years. “Pakistan and its people have hosted millions of Afghan refugees for more than four decades, with some 1.3 million current registrants in the country, as well as a large number of undocumented Afghans. “

A flooded village in Matiari, in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

© UNICEF / Asad Zaidi

A flooded village in Matiari, in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Climate change factor

Pakistan, already facing political and economic turmoil, has been placed on the front lines of the man-made climate crisis. The South Asian country of 220 million people has faced extreme weather conditions this year, from record-breaking heatwaves to deadly floods. “South Asia is one of the hotspots for the global climate crisis.

People living in these hotspots are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this week.

Pakistan is home to more glaciers than anywhere outside the polar regions. Global warming makes the country more vulnerable to sudden outbreaks of melting glacier water, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Islamabad.

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