Malaria and diseases spreading fast in flood-hit Pakistan

“I’ve never seen anything like this … I’m overwhelmed,” said Jolie, who has made several trips to Pakistan including after deadly floods in the country’s south in 2010.

“The aid is slow to arrive,” said Dr Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ country director for Pakistan, after visiting several submerged regions.

“We need to work in a coordinated manner to respond to their immediate needs,” she said in a statement late on Monday, prioritising clean drinking water. Health and nutrition stand out as the most important needs of the displaced population, she said.

Pakistan’s finance ministry said it had approved 10 billion rupees (US$42 million) for the disaster management agency to use for procuring flood relief supplies and other logistics.

France plans to host an international conference this year on climate-resilient reconstruction of Pakistan’s flood-affected areas. The announcement came after Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, said a statement issued by Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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The Sindh provincial government said makeshift health facilities and mobile camps in flooded areas had treated more than 78,000 patients in the last 24 hours, and more than 2 million since Jul 1. Six of them died, it said.

It confirmed 665 new malaria cases among internally displaced families over the same period, with another 9,201 suspected cases. It said a quarter of the more than 19,000 patients screened in the last 24 hours across the province were positive, a total of 4,876.

United Nations Pakistan said malaria, typhoid and diarrhoea cases were spreading quickly, adding 44,000 cases of malaria were reported this week in the southern province.

Director General Health Services for southwestern Balochistan province, Noor Ahmed Qazi, said malaria was spreading quickly in regions around stagnant waters.

“We’re receiving malaria patients in large numbers on a daily basis in medical camps and hospitals,” he told Reuters, adding: “We need more medicines and test kits in flood hit areas.”

Deaths from disease are not counted among the 1,569 people who were killed in flash floods, including 555 children and 320 women, the country’s disaster management agency said on Wednesday.