The needs of people affected by floods in Pakistan are rising as winter approaches and reported outbreaks of water- and vector-borne diseases, the United Nations reported today, warning that funding for humanitarian assistance in the country remains low, with stocks of some relief items severely depleted.
In the southern province of 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 illnesses was reported in a camp in Sanghar district yesterday, 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 winterized shelter.
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.
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. 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.