Needs of Pakistani flood survivors rise as winter approaches: UN

Published: October 29, 2011

In southern Sindh, stagnant water remains a major environmental and health hazard. PHOTO: ONLINE/ FILE

UNITED NATIONS: The needs of flood-hit Pakistani people and reported outbreaks of water-and- vector-borne diseases are rising as winter approaches, the United Nations reported Friday, warning that funding for humanitarian assistance in the country remains low, with stocks of some relief items severely depleted.

In southern Sindh, stagnant water remains a major environmental and health hazard, and water-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue are on the rise.

An outbreak of diarrhoeal illness was reported in a camp in Sanghar district on Thursday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update. Access to clean drinking water remains critical and the onset of winter in mid-November in most parts of flood-affected areas means that people will require more winterised shelter, OCHA said. Although receding water levels have allowed some displaced populations to return to their villages, relief needs continue because of poor sanitation in areas where homes, crops and livestock were lost to the floods, it said.

Since the beginning of the latest floods, about 1.8 million people or 50 per cent of those in need have been provided with food, while 700,000 received essential medical services, according to OCHA. An estimated 375,000 people (76 per cent) have emergency shelter and 870,000 of the affected population (35 per cent) received clean water. The rapid response plan launched on 18 September is only 23 per cent funded, with only $80 million of the requested $357 million received so far.

Unless additional resources are made available, UN agencies warn that most relief stocks are likely to run out, according to OCHA. Pakistan has been severely affected by floods for the second consecutive year, leaving more than five million people in need of safe drinking water, sanitation services, food, shelter materials and other essential support.

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