Sindh’s flood-hit people beset by respiratory diseases as relief efforts continue

Published September 24, 2022
Residents of Sindh travel in boats to get basic necessities as floodwater remains stagnant in several areas. — Photo by Qurban Khushik
Residents of Sindh travel in boats to get basic necessities as floodwater remains stagnant in several areas. — Photo by Qurban Khushik

Thousands of people in Sindh’s flood-hit areas continued to show up in medical camps in the past 24 hours, as disease outbreaks continue to be a concern in the province, where another 11-month-old child died due to respiratory failure.

According to the provincial health department, some 71,398 people were logged by authorities to have arrived for treatment at the various medical camps set up across the province, with complaints largely linked to waters that have stagnated in the aftermath of the floods.

Of the thousands of people who were tended to, a disproportionately high number of acute respiratory infections — 13,989 — were mentioned in official Sindh health department data.

Some 12,777 people complained of diarrhoea, 13,672 of skin diseases, 8,515 of suspected malaria, with 415 confirmed, and 33 had dengue. Another 22,413 were ill with other ailments. Cumulatively, more than three million displaced people have received treatment since July 1.

Sindh, where floodwaters descending from the country’s north and hill torrents from Balochistan have converged to give rise to a health crisis, has seen thousands displaced by deluges and now being inflicted by various diseases, mainly water-borne.

Dr Karim Mirani, a surgeon at the Dadu Civil Hospital, told Dawn.com that nearly 5,000 people in the district were brought to the hospital in the last few days.

Separately, the National Disaster Management Authority said that 10 flood-related deaths had been reported countrywide over the past 24 hours, taking the cumulative toll since mid-June to 1,606.

The National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC), in its daily update today, said that Qambar Shahdad Kot, Jacobabad, Larkana, Khairpur, Dadu, Noshero Feroz, Thatta, and Badin were the areas worst affected by the floods.

In Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Quetta, Naseerabad, Jafarabad, Jhalmagsi, Bolan, Sohbatpur, Lesbela, Dir, Swat, Charsadda, Kohistan, Tank and Dera Ismail Khan had recorded the highest losses.

The body highlighted that rescue operation by the Pakistan Army was underway in all these areas.

“So far 147 relief camps and 235 relief collection points in Sindh, South Punjab, and Balochistan have been established across the country for flood affectees,” it said.

More than 300 medical camps have also been established so far in which more than 565,359 patients have been treated all across the country and provided free medicines, it added.

Water level in Sindh

Dadu Assistant Commissioner Sonu Khan Chandio told Dawn.com that there was still up to six feet of water in the district, and adjoining areas such as Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah.

Earlier, a Dawn report said that under the supervision of district administration, labourers with the help of desperate local residents widened the breach of Johi branch dyke at Kali Mori.

The horrific situation in the town had developed on August 31 after huge deluges caused breaches in Suprio bund near Gozo, a small settlement in KN Shah. Gozo was also heavily flooded.

The water level of Manchhar Lake has also significantly dropped. It was recorded at 119.75RL on Friday, almost three feet below the danger level, according to irrigation engineer Mahesh Kumar.

Dr Khalil Sikandar Kunharo, a resident of KN Shah, while leading local residents in widening the Kali Mori breach, revealed that around 3,000 men, women and children were present in their houses in the town and staying in upper storeys or on the rooftops. They had chosen not to leave the town when it was hit by flood, said the doctor.

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