Pakistan: funds are still needed to support the response ahead of the winter months
Access to the northern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is improving and many displaced people have returned. In Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, where vast areas remain under water, some displaced people have returned home while others have moved to camps close to their still inaccessible homes.
With more than 450 health facilities totally or partially damaged in flood-affected areas, thousands of people will not have access to basic health care including maternal, neonatal, child and reproductive health, especially in places where no mobile health care services are available.
The disease surveillance and response network is currently implemented in 64 out of 78 flood-affected districts and the risk of outbreaks remains high. Acute malnutrition is increasingly a concern, especially as food insecurity will continue to be very high in the coming winter months.
Acute watery diarrhoea (13%), acute respiratory tract infections (18%), skin infections (12%) and suspected malaria (9%) remain the leading causes of morbidity. Other health threats include cholera, dengue and Congo-Crimean Haemorrhagic fever.
The humanitarian health response is focusing on communicable disease control, including water quality control for waterborne diseases, the provision of primary health care, including reproductive and gender-based violence health care, and the resumption of services in damaged facilities.
WHO is coordinating the Health Cluster response and working with UN agencies and humanitarian organizations in related sectors, including Food, Nutrition and Water and Sanitation. WHO’s immediate, most urgent funding needs are in the following areas:
- Provision of essential medicines;
- coordination and the functionality of WHO’s operational hubs;
- Strengthening and expansion of an integrated disease and malnutrition surveillance and response system;
- emergency repairs to health facilities.
On 24 September, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Action in Crises and the directors of the Emergency divisions of UNICEF and WFP, visited key emergency relief programmes related to health, food and nutrition activities. To ensure an ongoing coordinated response to the crisis and address the increasing threats to the survival of those affected, WHO,UNICEF and WFP, together with UNFPA and other key partners, have devised an Integrated Relief and Return Support Strategy. The Strategy aims to ensure a more integrated, effective and timely response to the key factors contributing to diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, malaria, measles, cholera, malnutrition, as well as maternal and neo-natal mortality and morbidity.
On 27-29 October, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan also visited Pakistan with EMRO’s Regional Director to support early recovery and rehabilitation activities, as well as to boost Polio eradication efforts in the country.
A revision of the Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan was issued early September covering relief and early recovery activities until July 2011. The Health Cluster seeks US$ 200 million to fund 94 projects run by partners and WHO. WHO has appealed for US$ 104 million in the revised plan, of which only about US$ 20 million have been received so far, endangering the sustainability of early recovery health activities.
The graph below shows funds received from donors for the Floods Emergency Response Plan launched on 8 August 2010 (funds received under the revised plan are included).