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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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29 more dead as diseases, starvation stalk flood-affected

Many in dire need of food, shelter, medical assistance

The death toll from malaria and other diseases tearing through Pakistan’s flood-ravaged regions reached 324, authorities said on Wednesday as 29 more people lost their lives in various areas of Sindh on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open. Stagnant floodwater, spread over hundreds of kilometres, may take two to six months to recede. Already this has led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. Hollywood actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie also visited people displaced by the floods with international aid organisation IRC in an effort to raise awareness. She saw some of the worst affected areas in Sindh province.

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“I’ve seen those lives who were saved,” she said but added that without sufficient aid, others “won’t be here in the next few weeks, they won’t make it.” Her comments, made when visiting the country’s flood response centre, were carried on video footage shared by Pakistan Army on Wednesday. Authorities and aid workers have said more immediate help is needed for the displaced families exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards, such as snake and dog bites.

Despite the efforts of the government and local and foreign relief organisations, many people are in dire need of food, shelter, medical assistance and medicines. With Pakistan’s already weak health system and lack of support, displaced families have complained of being forced to drink and cook with unsafe water.

“We know it can sicken us, but what to do, we have to drink it to stay alive,” flood victim Ghulam Rasool told a private TV channel as he stood near where his home was washed away.

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“I’ve never seen anything like this … I’m overwhelmed,” said Jolie, who has made several trips to Pakistan including after deadly floods in the country’s south in 2010. “The aid is slow to arrive,” said Dr Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ country director for Pakistan, after visiting several submerged regions. “We need to work in a coordinated manner to respond to their immediate needs,” she said in a statement late on Monday, prioritising clean drinking water. Health and nutrition stand out as the most important needs of the displaced population, she said.

Meanwhile, Sindh Irrigation Department has initiated a survey to plug cuts administered in Manchar Lake as water level is going down. Floodwater level in the lake has further dropped after being drained into the Indus River. It dropped to RL 120 while the lake’s capacity level is RL 123, according to sources.



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