SWAT: The worst flooding in the country’s history has affected hundreds of thousands of people in all four provinces. As floodwaters recede in the affected villages of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, survivors are faced with another danger: water-borne diseases.
“Kabal teshil of Swat is cut off from the rest of the country. Survivors are starving as there is no food or clean drinking water available,” local government official Ahmad Zaib told The Express Tribune during a visit to a medical camp set up by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP). “The outbreak of water-borne diseases has further complicated the situation,” he added
Zaib praised the Pakistan Army for the “commendable role” it has been playing in the relief operation. “The Pakistan Army has flown in medicines for the affected people, much to the relief of the local administration,” he added.
Doctors say that the shortage of clean drinking water was responsible for the outbreak of diseases. “A large number of women are suffering from gastroenteritis and skin diseases, while children are contracting chicken pox and diarrhoea,” Dr Shama told The Express Tribune at the camp.
Survivors say they are starving as no government aid has reached them so far. “Floods destroyed everything in our village. And survivors are now suffering from skin diseases,” Gul Zarina, 49, who is suffering from gastroenteritis, told The Express Tribune.
Speaking about her ordeal, Zarina said that they have been eating grass to stay alive as they have lost everything. “We cannot migrate to Mingora because Kabal is cut off from the rest of the country,” she added.
Another survivor also complained about lack of relief goods in Kabal. “How will we spend the holy month of Ramazan as there is a severe shortage of food items, particularly wheat, which is our staple food,” Karim Gul, a resident of the Tal Dardyal area, said to The Express Tribune.
Medical officer Dr Waliullah warned of a humanitarian disaster in the area, if relief did not arrive on time. “If food, drinking water and medicines are not rushed to the area, the number of the patients will critically be increased manifolds,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ