Aid organisations warn outbreak of waterborne diseases in Pak

Aid organisations warned that the outbreak of diseases like diarrhoea posed new risks to victims of Pakistan`s worst floods in decades, even as swollen rivers threatened further destruction in the southern Sindh province.

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2010, 00:06 AM IST

Islamabad: Aid organisations on Friday warned
that the outbreak of diseases like diarrhoea posed new risks
to victims of Pakistan`s worst floods in decades, even as
swollen rivers threatened further destruction in the southern
Sindh province.

Members of international organisations engaged in
relief operations said the lack of clean water and sanitation
is spreading gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and skin diseases.

They warned that the diseases could add to the death
toll from two weeks of flooding.

The unprecedented floods triggered by unusually heavy
monsoon rains have killed nearly 1,700 people and affected
over 14 million.

Millions of people are still homeless and aid workers
have been unable to reach victims in some inaccessible areas
in the northwest.

UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano said up to a quarter of
Pakistan had been affected by the floods.

Other officials warned that the crisis was far from
over as flood waters were still inundating southern parts of
the country, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

There were reports of outbreaks of waterborne
diseases, particularly among children, in areas like Multan in
Punjab and parts of the northwest.

Two weeks after the monsoons first hit Pakistan, parts
of the country have continued to receive heavy rainfall.
Jassar in Punjab today recorded 102 mm of rains.

The Meteorological Department forecast more monsoon
rains in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces till Sunday.

The heavy rains might cause flash floods in rivers and
ravines, it warned.

During the next three to four weeks, heavy rainfall is
expected in the catchment areas of the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi
and Sutlej rivers and could cause floods.

The Indus river is expected to be in "exceptionally
high flood" with levels of one million cusecs at Guddu and
Sukkur in Sindh by Sunday.

The Chenab river is expected to be at a "high flood"
level at Punjnad by tomorrow and could again inundate parts of
Multan, Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh districts of Punjab, it
said.

In Sindh, a tent city sprang up near Hyderabad as
thousands of people fled their homes in the city due to
floods.

District administration chief Aftab Ahmed Khatri said
about 25,000 people of Hyderabad living along the Indus were
facing a threat and over 2,000 people had been evacuated.

Riaz Soomro of the Sindh Relief Department said over
915,000 had been affected or were likely to be affected by the
current flood wave in the Indus.

Over 582,000 of them have already been evacuated from
low-lying areas.

Many of them were evacuated forcibly, he said.
The UN and other aid organisations have stepped up
calls for aid for the victims of the floods.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in
Pakistan tomorrow to hold talks on relief efforts. The UN has
appealed for USD 460 million for an emergency response plan.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John
Kerry too will visit Pakistan next week to survey the damage.

The US has provided over USD 76 million in aid so far.
India today joined the list of countries that have
provided aid to Pakistan, with External Affairs Minister S M
Krishna offering USD five million in aid as "a gesture of
solidarity" during a telephonic conversation with his
Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Pakistani authorities have decided to scale down the
country`s Independence Day celebrations tomorrow in view of
the floods.

President Asif Ali Zardari, criticised for visiting
Europe after the onset of the floods, is expected to spend the
day with displaced people.

A meeting chaired by Zardari on Friday decided on several
steps to alleviate the suffering of victims, including
providing computerized ID cards and financial aid to those who
have lost their homes.

The government may have to re-prioritise budgetary
allocations and divert resources towards relief and
rehabilitation operations, Zardari said.

The success of rehabilitation efforts will depend on
mobilisation of international support and creating a credible
and transparent mechanism for distribution of relief goods and
funds, he said.

Zardari urged the international community and
Pakistanis living abroad to come to the aid of the
flood-affected people "as the task was too big for any
government or party to undertake on its own." PTI RHL Over
582,000 of them have already been evacuated from low-lying
areas.

Many of them were evacuated forcibly, he said.
The UN and other aid organisations have stepped up
calls for aid for the victims of the floods.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in
Pakistan tomorrow to hold talks on relief efforts. The UN has
appealed for USD 460 million for an emergency response plan.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John
Kerry too will visit Pakistan next week to survey the damage.

The US has provided over USD 76 million in aid so far.
India today joined the list of countries that have
provided aid to Pakistan, with External Affairs Minister S M
Krishna offering USD five million in aid as "a gesture of
solidarity" during a telephonic conversation with his
Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Pakistani authorities have decided to scale down the
country`s Independence Day celebrations tomorrow in view of
the floods.

President Asif Ali Zardari, criticised for visiting
Europe after the onset of the floods, is expected to spend the
day with displaced people.

A meeting chaired by Zardari on Friday decided on several
steps to alleviate the suffering of victims, including
providing computerised ID cards and financial aid to those who
have lost their homes.

The government may have to re-prioritise budgetary
allocations and divert resources towards relief and
rehabilitation operations, Zardari said.

The success of rehabilitation efforts will depend on
mobilisation of international support and creating a credible
and transparent mechanism for distribution of relief goods and
funds, he said.

Zardari urged the international community and
Pakistanis living abroad to come to the aid of the
flood-affected people "as the task was too big for any
government or party to undertake on its own."

PTI