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  • Yusra Husain

Pakistan’s Public Health Risked By Recent Floods

Since June 2022, substantial rain and flooding has taken over more than one-third of Pakistan, including 113 out of 160 districts. In August, the government of Pakistan declared a state of emergency in response to the long-lasting disaster. Throughout September, the rainfall and flooding reached its peak with monsoon rains pouring down heavily for several weeks. Now, as of October, the rainfall has quieted down and the flood water has begun to slowly drain. These floods, which are considered to be the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history, are causing a number of health-related issues such as malaria, diarrhea, dengue, skin disease, and malnutrition. Additionally, the heavy rainfall has caused significant infrastructure issues such as damaged roads, collapsed bridges, and flooded houses. So far, over 33 million citizens have been displaced while around 1,500 citizens have been killed and 12,000 people have been injured.

Weak socioeconomic conditions and poor monitoring of resources and their distribution contribute to the challenges faced by the natural disaster. Many of the areas affected by the recent floods are rural communities, so the harsh downpours unfortunately add to the health and resource inequities these communities already face. The provinces that are damaged the most by the floods and its accompanying obstacles are Sindh and Balochistan. Balochistan is the poorest and most vulnerable province, which means that it has been affected the worst by the devastating floods. The remaining two provinces, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have been heavily impacted by the floods as well.

Some of the obstacles the affected areas have been facing are heavy contamination of water sources, damage to school toilets, and erosion of mud houses. Additionally, food insecurity has become a prevalent and pressing problem. According to the United Nations, more than 793,900 livestock have died and 2 million acres of agricultural land have been damaged. In response to these barriers, the immediate needs of many Pakistani communities and families include medicines, clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation supplies, temporary healthcare facilities, emergency shelters, food staples, blankets, and nutritional supplements.

There are many organizations that have taken the lead in providing assistance and resources to Pakistan. As of September, The Akhuwat Foundation, which is a non-profit organization in Pakistan, has provided ration kits to over 35,000 affected people in the Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The Institute for Development Studies and Practices Pakistan (IDSP) is focused on responding to Balochistan’s needs by gathering relief items such as tents, food provisions, livestock replacements, hospital transport costs, and medical camp supplies. The Network for Human and Social Development (NHSD) is supporting over 200 families in the villages of Bahria Panwar, Mehar Dadhu, and Sindh with provisions of cash grants, food rations, daily cooked foods, and housing reconstruction. The Citizens Foundation (TCF) in the UK is providing emergency relief by helping to reconstruct the homes of 9,000 families, supplying over five million meals to families, and rehabilitating TCF schools that are damaged by the floods. Unicef and its partners are delivering medical and other emergency supplies to support children and women who are left troubled by the floods.

The UN secretary general António Guterres described the flooding as a “monsoon on steroids.” Ultimately, Pakistan's lack of access to rehabilitation resources and health services is detrimental to the public health of the country. It is necessary for as many people as possible to contribute to rehabilitation efforts for the Pakistani people, whether it is by donating money to appropriate organizations, gathering and sending relief items, or simply raising awareness about the current state of Pakistan.


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