A three-year-old child and a man’s body were recovered in Khangarh on Tuesday, where locals protested against the administration. Resident’s accused the government of starving them. “Those of us who were lucky enough to stay alive after the floods will now be killed by the government’s apathy,” said an enraged Shaukat Khattak. Thousands of hungry people protested in Khangarh when the bodies of three girls were recovered from a village in Mehmood Kot.
Meanwhile, in a relief camp set up in a government high school in Daira Shah one-month-old Mehtab and Ramzan Sheikh died from gastroentiritis. People from villages in Kotla, Meerani, Daira Shah, Balwaan and Nadir Shah complain that they have yet to receive any aid from the government. Ahmed Sheikh, Ghulam Hasan, Mustafa, Gunman Khan, Qalandar Khan, Shujaat Ahmed, Hasan Nawaz, Musa Khan said that they had not received food for over two days, adding that water and electricity in the relief camps was scarce. “Not a single government or NGO official has visited these camps and we have little to go by,” said Shujaat Ahmed.In Khangarh village Sundela, Abdul Ghafoor came to Sheikhpur where his disabled daughter Tahira (also an epilepsy patient) fell into the water and died three days ago. Tahira’s body was discovered near the Khangarh nullah. Police officials handed over the body to the family for burial. Similarly, in Mehmood Kot near the Humdani Wala railway station a body was found after waters receded in the area. Police buried the body in a local graveyard.
In Dera Ghazi Khan, district coordination officer (DCO) Iftikhar Ali denied all reports of any deaths having occurred in the Taunsa relief camp due to food shortage. Flood victims said the police was downplaying the situation. Ali said that several NGOs were operating in the area and had been providing food and clothing for the camps.
Residents of Mohallah Garden Sitiana Road have dispatched five truckloads of relief goods to Mianwali. The relief items include 100 bags of flour, 1,200 packets of different food items, 7,000 bottles of drinking water, 2,000 packets of biscuits, 500 cans of water and necessary medicines. DCO Naseem Sadiq and MPA Chaudhary Shafiq Gujjar sent the relief consignment under their supervision. The DCO hailed the noble sentiment of donors for collecting relief goods at a large scale and said that relief activities initiated by people of Faisalabad would continue till the complete rehabilitation of flood victims in the district.
Eight patients of gastroenteritis have been admitted in the DHQ Hospital Pakpattan in two days. According to doctors at the hospital, the epidemic is spreading in the area and over a dozen people had died from gastroenteritis over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set up diarrhea centres in the six flood-affected districts of the province. The WHO has started contacting doctors belonging to Faisalabad and other districts for these camps.
The reports prepared and sent to the WHO by the federal and the provincial governments state that about 300 to 500 children were being affected by diarrhea every day. Most of them, the report said, died as there was a severe shortage of appropriate medical facilities. The WHO has set up camps in district headquarter (DHQs) hospitals in Mianwali, Sargodha, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan. These camps will provide free of charge medical and laboratory facilities. The E-med has been directed to hire the required staff. About 18 doctors, 18 staff nurses and 18 ward boys are being hired from Faisalabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2010.
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