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Malaria and diseases spreading fast in flood-hit Pakistan

Aina Idriena Osman

Aina Idriena Osman

UUM News Reporter

KARACHI, Pakistan: Authorities announced on Wednesday (Sept. 21) that 324 people had died from malaria and other ailments that were ravaging Pakistan’s flood-ravaged regions.

If further aid does not arrive, Angelina Jolie expressed her concern that many of the individuals she had seen during her visits to flood-affected areas this week will “not make it.”

Thousands of people who had been displaced by the floods were residing outside. Floodwaters that have stagnated over hundreds of kilometres may take two to six months to drain. Already, they have caused numerous cases of typhoid, dengue fever, malaria, diarrhoea, and skin and eye diseases.

In an effort to raise awareness, Hollywood actress and humanitarian Jolie travelled with the international assistance organization IRC to visit flood victims. In the southern Sindh province, she visited some of the most hit areas.

She remarked, “I’ve seen those lives who were spared,” but continued, “Without enough help, others won’t be here in the next several weeks, they won’t make it.” On video footage released by the nation’s military on Wednesday, she is heard making remarks while touring the nation’s flood response centre.

More immediate help is required, according to authorities and humanitarian workers, for displaced families who are at risk of being bitten by snakes and dogs as well as being infested by swarms of mosquitoes.

Despite the government’s efforts as well as those of local and international relief organizations, many people still have a critical need for food, shelter, medical care, and medications.

Families who have been forced to relocate complain of being compelled to drink and cook with hazardous water because of Pakistan’s already inadequate health system and lack of help.

A patient suffering from dengue fever chats with a woman while sitting under a mosquito net inside a dengue and malaria ward at the Sindh Government Services Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ghulam Rasool, a flood victim in southern Pakistan, said to local Geo News TV, “We know it will sicken us, but what can we do? We have to drink it to keep alive,” as he stood near where his home was being washed away.

Three times as much rain fell in Pakistan as usual during a historic and strong monsoon. Unprecedented floods resulted from the combination of this and glacial melt.

The nation of 220 million people in South Asia has seen the deluge, which scientists believe was made worse by climate change, affect roughly 33 million people. Homes, crops, bridges, roads, and livestock have all been destroyed, causing an estimated $30 billion in damages.

“This is something I’ve never seen before. I feel overwhelmed, “Jolie, who has visited Pakistan on multiple occasions, including in the wake of the 2010 catastrophic floods in the south of the nation, added.

After visiting numerous submerged areas, Dr. Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ national director for Pakistan, remarked, “The aid is slow to arrive.”

She stated in a statement late on Monday that “we need to work in a coordinated manner to respond to their immediate needs,” prioritizing safe drinking water. She stated that the most crucial demands of the displaced population are health and nutrition.

According to the Pakistani finance ministry, the disaster management agency has been given permission to purchase flood relief supplies and other logistics using 10 billion rupees (US$42 million).

This year, France intends to host an international conference on rebuilding Pakistan’s flood-affected regions in a way that is climate resilient. According to a statement released by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the announcement was made following a bilateral meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif outside of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.