Pakistan Floods Donor Alert
The recent heavy flooding caused by the monsoon in Pakistan, most devastating in Sindh, has af-fected the lives of over five million people. Flood waters continue to drain, leaving behind massive damage and large areas of standing water in Sindh.
The risk of disease outbreaks has increased, hundreds of health facilities are damaged and the health system is overstretched. An immediate humanitarian health response has been called for and needs to be maintained over the coming months, especially as winter is approaching. In the framework of the Pakistan Rapid Response Plan for the Floods, issued on 18 September, the Health and Nutrition Cluster is appealing for US$45.9 million. WHO requires US$14.8 for response for Health, Nutrition and Water and Sanitation interventions.
Current health situation
The spread of communicable diseases is the main health concern. Threats for the flood victims include diarrhoea, cholera, malaria, acute respira-tory infections and skin diseases because of the dismal hygienic conditions, lack of clean drinking water, scarcity of food, shelter and lack of access to essential medicines. Acute malnutrition is increasingly worrisome.
According to the findings of a Health Initial Rapid Needs Assessment conducted in 22 flood-affected districts , the supply of potable water has been badly disrupted in almost all flood-affected districts. 33% of basic health units (BHU) are unserviceable while 11% of the rural health centres (RHC) are unable to provide health services to the flood-affected population due to inaccessibility or damage to the infrastructure.
In the accessible health centres assessed, essential medicines, vaccines and other supplies were reported to be adequate in only 32% of the flood affected health facilities until the end of Septem-ber. If not replenished promptly, acute shortages are bound to arise.
Essential Emergency Obstetric Services (EmOc) services have been disrupted. They are available in only 40% of the health facilities. They need to be restored immediately.
The Disease Early Warning System (DEWS), strengthened during the 2010 floods is functioning and has detected 227 alerts out of which 46 were confirmed outbreaks that were responded to through a Rapid Response Team and contained within 48 hours.