As rains continue to lash the flood ravaged Sindh province in Pakistan, international aid agency Oxfam is warning of a severe risk of a public health crisis if clean water and sanitation is not urgently provided.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority more than 100,000 adults and 500,000 children are at risk of contracting diseases if the international community does not provide immediate assistance.
Millions of those affected are living in extremely unhygienic conditions without access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities, which if not addressed will lead to an outbreak of water-borne and vector-borne diseases like acute diarrhoea, dengue, malaria and hepatitis.
“These are exceptional and overwhelming circumstances that the people are facing, many of whom are still recovering from last year’s floods. People’s natural resilience to coping has eroded with one disaster after the other,” said Neva Khan, Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan.
“Lack of food, water, shelter and sanitation has further weakened their resistance to diseases. Women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities are now more vulnerable than ever.
“The clock is ticking and with each passing day human suffering is multiplying. Oxfam urges the donor community to gear up its response and support Pakistan generously in its time of need,” said Neva.
It is estimated that approximately 2.5 million people are in immediate need of clean water and sanitation.
Less than a week into the crisis Oxfam and our partners have reached more than 20,000 people with clean water supplies, conducted hygiene promotion sessions to raise awareness with 5500 people, provided more than 6000 people with hygiene kits and have assisted in the search and rescue of 42,544 people, of which 22,292 are women.
Oxfam has been working in Pakistan since 1973. The 2010 floods were the worst ever in recorded history of Pakistan, affecting 20 million people, with 1,985 killed and another 2,964 injured. Oxfam responded by mounting its biggest-ever worldwide humanitarian response.
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