In Pakistan, flood-borne diseases claim 9 more lives and death toll exceeds 1,550

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  • Latest 9 deaths in Pakistan flood-borne diseases
  • The spread of disease has killed 318 people since July 1
  • The influx of infectious and waterborne diseases overwhelms the health system
  • Diarrhea, malaria “out of control”
  • Wave of death and disease a “second catastrophe”

KARACHI, Pakistan, Sept 20 (Reuters) – At least nine more people have died of waterborne diseases that have attacked tens of thousands of displaced people living in flood-devastated areas in Pakistan, officials said on Tuesday. warning that they risk losing control of the spread of infections.

Hundreds of people could have died from diseases that spread after the floods, authorities in the southern Sindh region have said, with villagers saying drinking water shortages meant they were drinking and cooking with the water. floods.

“There is already the outbreak of disease,” said Ahsan Iqbal, the planning minister, who also heads a national flood response center run jointly by the government and military.

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“We fear this is spiraling out of control,” he told a news conference in Islamabad.

An intense and long monsoon that has dumped around three times more rain on Pakistan than average in recent weeks, has flooded large swathes of the country. The torrential monsoon was a century-old event likely made more intense by climate change, scientists say.

The death toll from the deluge itself affected 1,559 people, including 551 children and 318 women, which does not include deaths from disease, the country’s disaster management agency said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the “surge of illness and death” has “potential for a second disaster” after the floods.

Standing water allows mosquitoes to breed and spread vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, he said.

As floodwaters spread over hundreds of kilometers begin to recede, which authorities say can take two to six months, standing waters have led to illnesses such as malaria, dengue fever, diarrhea and skin problems, mainly in Sindh – the most affected by the floods. Read more

The Sindh provincial government said nine people died on Monday from gastroenteritis, acute diarrhea and suspected malaria. It has reported a total of 318 deaths from illnesses since July 1.

The report said more than 72,000 patients were treated as of Monday in makeshift or mobile hospitals set up in flood-affected areas.

More than 2.7 million people have been treated at these facilities since July 1, according to the report.

Three other provinces have also reported thousands of such cases.

OVERWHELMED

The influx has overwhelmed the country’s already weak health system. The Sindh provincial government said more than 1,200 medical facilities were still blocked by floodwaters.

Malaria and diarrhea are spreading rapidly, said Moinuddin Siddique, director of the Abdullah Shah Institute of Health Sciences in the town of Sehwan, which is surrounded by floodwaters. “We are overwhelmed,” he told Reuters.

Iqbal, the minister, called on the affluent segment of society to come forward to help flood relief efforts and asked for medical volunteers to join the government.

He appealed for two million nutritional kits, for pregnant women and newborns, saying the government was setting up mobile hospitals and clinics in the affected areas.

Record monsoon rains and melting ice in northern Pakistan triggered floods that affected nearly 33 million people in the South Asian country of 220 million, washing away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock with damage estimated at $30 billion.

The government says GDP growth is expected to fall to 3% from a previous estimate of 5% for the 2022-23 financial year.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced people live in the open, exposing them to disease and other dangers. Read more

UNICEF described the situation of the families as “more than bleak”.

It says around 16 million children have been affected and at least 3.4 million girls and boys still need immediate and life-saving support.

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Writing and reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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