ISLAMABAD: At least one case of cholera has been confirmed by the United Nations following Pakistan’s worst floods in living memory.
“There has been at least one confirmed case of cholera in Mingora,” said Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Giuliano said that the UN was stepping up its efforts to treat people suffering from acute diarrhoea.]
“Given that there are concerns about cholera, which is a very deadly disease, what we’ve started to do instead of testing them [for if they have the disease] is to treat everyone for cholera,” he said.
Giuliano said at least 36,000 people are reportedly suffering from acute watery diarrhoea. “We’re not suggesting that everyone who has acute watery diarrhoea has cholera, but cholera is certainly a concern and that’s why we’re stepping up our efforts to treat cholera,” he said. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday to discuss the relief effort and visit flood-hit areas.
The UN believes that 1,600 people have died, while Islamabad has confirmed 1,384 deaths. The UN has appealed for $460 million to deal with the immediate aftermath of the floods but charities say the figure falls far short of what is needed.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2010.