Up to eight million people require medical assistance as disease outbreaks surge in flood-ravaged areas, UN states in its 100-day report
Pakistan was hit by the most disastrous and cataclysmic floods since the floods of 2010, which hugely impacted the lives in affected areas as well as the country's already trembling economy.
Up to eight million people require medical assistance as disease outbreaks surge in the flood-ravaged areas, the United Nations has stated in a 100-day report since the tragedy struck, shared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Besides the health emergency, as many as 3.5 million children's education has been interrupted and 13.5 million people are still in need of protection services.
TheUN and humanitarian organisations have assisted the affected people with lifesaving, food security, protection and education support. However, in a disaster of this magnitude, the catastrophe is far from overthe people will continue to need assistance for months to come.
Here is a detailed breakdown of flood-related damage:
About a total of 33 million people have been affected with 20.6 million still in need of assistance. However, the 9.5 million flood affectees have been provided assistance.
Not just that, the winter season is fast approaching, and the affected population will be severely affected by the harsh weather conditions in a few weeks, requiring adequate shelter and non-food items such as tents and blankets.
According to the report, flood water continued to recede in many areas of Balochistan and Sindh during the last few weeks, although standing water remains in some districts. In Sindh, the most affected districts, such as Dadu, Khairpur and Mirpurkhas, remain underwater for nearly two months.
The economic situation of Pakistan is expected to have a detrimental impact according to the post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA), which was completed under the leadership of the Ministry of Planning and Development with the Asian Development Bank, European Union, World Bank, and the United Nations system.
The economy has suffered a loss of $15.2 billion while it requires $16.3 billion for rehabilitation. The floods have increased the poverty rate by 4% while up to 9.1 million people are below the poverty line.
Pakistan requires a total of $816 million to meet its needs out of which $171 million has been funded while the remaining amount is $644.5 million.
To date, more than 2.3 million houses have been damaged including 900,000 houses that are fully damaged across the country. Based on currently available data, some 5.4 million people remain displaced due to heavy rains and floods.
The report further said that increased protection concerns include high levels of psychological distress and exposure of children and adults to a range of new flood-related physical risks and hazards, such as from damaged buildings, drowning and snakebites.
Marginalised people including people with disabilities are experiencing increased vulnerability due to disrupted access to essential services, and children and marginalised groups are vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation at distribution points. Safety issues have also reportedly arisen from the lack of proper toilets and bathing facilities.
The impact of floods have a negative impact on women’s and girls’ privacy, safety and security and access to basic humanitarian assistance, which has worsened pre-existing gender inequality, escalated needs for GBV services and risk mitigation across all sectors including higher risks of child marriages, harassment and possible trafficking.
As many as 6 million people no longer have access to home sanitation facilities. The report stated that the availability of safe water and sanitation remains limited, with people using contaminated water for household consumption and suffering from waterborne diseases. The practice of open defecation has increased from one-fifth before the floods to over one-third of the affected population.
Meanwhile, 8 million flood victims need health assistance. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), over 1,700 people died and 12,800 people were injured as a result of the heavy rains and floods.
Cases of water and vector-borne diseases, along with acute respiratory illnesses, especially among children and old age people, remain a challenge for the public health situation in flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan.
As of 8 November, around 8 million flood-affected people need health assistance (WHO), including the provision of essential medical supplies and access to essential health care. As the displaced people return to their places of origin, they face an increased risk of disease transmission driven by damaged infrastructure, stagnant water, and inadequate sanitation facilities.
Apart from that, the floods have severely affected the education sector disrupting the school year and children's access to learning. As of 20 October 2022, at least 26,632 schools have been damaged or destroyed in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to floods. Based on current estimations, more than 3.5 million children's education has been interrupted due to floods all over Pakistan.
The rate of stunting among children, which was already high before the floods, will further compound children's cognitive development. Malnourished pregnant women are also at risk of low-birth-weight babies who will be malnourished. According to UNFPA, as of 19 October, more than 1.6 million women are of reproductive age, and nearly 130,000 are pregnant. For these women, the risk of displacement, injury and death due to the flooding compounds with that of gender-based violence and the possibility of dangerous disruptions to reproductive health care.
A total of 4.4 million acres of crop area in the country remains affected. The ongoing economic crisis due to rising inflation, low productivity growth and stagnant floodwater continues to present challenges to food security in flood-affected areas. An estimated 14.6 million people require emergency food assistance from December through March 2023, representing an increase of more than 100% of the pre-flood estimate.