Pakistan is experiencing one of the worst monsoon rains and flash floods on record, causing massive destruction, infrastructure damage, and directly affecting millions of people across the country.
So far, an estimated 33 to 35 million people have been directly affected by the floods, with over 1300 people killed. The unprecedented floods not only caused significant damage and destruction, but they also sickened thousands and made millions more vulnerable to various diseases.
According to the Sindh province’s Directorate General of Health Sciences, the majority of the people who have been displaced from flood-affected areas are sick with various water-borne diseases such as skin infection, diarrhoea, malaria, and others.
According to records, from July 1 to September 2, at least 594,643 patients were treated at the health department’s mobile and fixed camps. A large number of treated patients are suffering from various diseases, with at least 134,682 cases of diarrhoea, 125,497 cases of skin diseases, 119,159 cases of respiratory problems, 44,832 cases of malaria, 548 cases of dog bites, and at least 101 cases of snake bites reported to date.
Furthermore, at least 279 of the treated patients died in medical camps, while many more died as a result of critical injuries sustained as a result of the collapse of their homes’ walls and roofs, which were hit by flood water and destroyed. Electrocution-related deaths have also been reported in flood-affected areas.
As time passes, the number of cases of illness among flood-affected people grows by the hour. Thousands of patients are seeking treatment at government medical camps for a variety of ailments.
“Skin diseases are most prevalent among the flood-hit children. Children who made through the muddy waters and also often drank it, resulted in gastro and skin diseases,” said a doctor working at a camp of a private hospital.
While the flood water destroyed homes, villages, towns, and standing crop fields across hundreds of acres of land, taking with it a large number of livestock, it also damaged and destroyed at least 125 government health facilities, while another 966 were partially destroyed and damaged.
This has exacerbated the existing challenge of providing health services to over 33 million people, as government teams, with the assistance of private hospitals and health experts, have set up camps in various areas and invited displaced flood-affected families to come to them for medical and health treatment.