The 2022’s massive flood in Pakistan has opened another aspect of suffering for the nation. The flood itself razed to the ground many cities and villages across the four provinces. Now the threat of disease and the upcoming winter season is of major concern. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has raised concerns over the disease outbreak which will prove to be a ‘second disaster’ for the already damaged state of Pakistan. Dengue fever and other vector-borne illnesses have exacerbated the already poor situation of the country. Cities and areas that have already been flooded face the threat of dengue, malaria, and other water-borne illnesses. Dengue has claimed the lives of four people in Karachi. Other diseases like malaria and water-borne illnesses like diarrhea have also been recorded in South Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan. The number of reported cases is steadily growing, and so is the number of deaths. Such reports were unavoidable following the destruction wrought by floods and the accumulation of stagnant water in numerous regions. The actual concern, however, is that many illnesses are easily preventable but there is not much being done to prevent them.
The WHO chief has urged the world to donate to this humanitarian cause as Pakistan is heavily suffering. The organization has also released $10 million from the WHO contingency Fund for Emergencies which allowed the organization to provide funds for medication and health camps for the flood affected people. Still the level of devastation calls for more and more donations from the global village as Pakistan is distressed. The ‘second disaster’ was imminent as such diseases are bound to spread in areas with stagnant water and poor sanitation. Already most districts of the country are underdeveloped with barely any proper system of sewerage and sanitation and with the recent disaster, the problem has only increased. Other than the spread of diseases, the flood affected areas are also facing difficulty in finding basic health units and health workers as more than 75% of the dispensaries and health units have been destroyed by the flood. There are also inadequate medicines available for the victims.
However, the aforementioned problems are not the only ones faced by the flood victims. This is a multifaceted issue faced by a country that was already economically and politically in turmoil. With the winter season approaching, the people will need better shelter to save themselves from the cold winter months, especially in the north. Currently, the makeshift arrangements are somewhat bearable, but these will not be sustainable in the winter season. Therefore, the prime minister has appealed for blankets, winter clothing and other similar items so that the poor souls who have lost their homes can protect themselves from the harsh season.
Moreover, there are about 750,000 pregnant women in the flooded regions. Pregnancy is already a difficult time period for a woman and to lose one’s home in that period is even more devastating. These women are stranded on the roads with little to no medical assistance as their due dates approach. The government must set up health camps and make sure they are easily accessible to these women so that there are as little complications as possible. Along with that formula feed and essentials for new mothers and newborn babies are also required in the regions and they should be donated as much as possible.
The damage done by the floods will have a long lasting effect on the country and it is up to the rest of the world to help out a nation that is suffering heavily. Humanitarian aid must be given to Pakistan in kind if not in cash.