IRC Mobilizes Emergency Health Response to Monsoon Floods in Pakistan
At least 20 people are confirmed dead in flash floods caused by monsoon rains in the districts of Mardan and Swabi in northwestern Pakistan. The Pakistani government estimates that the floods have affected up to 80,000 people, with approximately 400 homes destroyed. The floods ravaged farming communities, destroying much of the corn, rice, sugar cane and tobacco crops and drowning livestock—a huge economic blow to communities already reeling after taking in one million people displaced by fighting between the army and the Taliban over the past four months.
The International Rescue Committee responded by quickly deploying a mobile health clinic to the disaster area. On August 19, the IRC’s medical team treated nearly 100 patients suffering predominately from respiratory infections, skin infections and gastric ailments.
“The team examined patients, distributed medicines and personal hygiene kits,” said Dr. Hameed Ulla, the IRC’s health manager in Pakistan. “Our staff also informed people about ways to keep drinking water clean and on how to avoid the spread of disease in the communities.”
Abdul Haseeb, the IRC’s senior humanitarian response coordinator, said that the mobile health clinic will continue to provide services on a daily basis, until the crisis is over. The IRC has also deployed water and sanitation teams to treat contaminated drinking water.
“This is a challenge within a challenge,” Haseeb said. “We are responding to flood victims in an area that is already struggling to cope with people displaced by the war.”
The IRC is also procuring “monsoon kits” containing soap, tools and other necessities—for some 25,000 people.
The rain started last weekend and has submerged houses, crops and livestock in the Swabi and Mardan districts of North-West Frontier Province.
“Much of the water has now submerged,” said Dr. Hameed. “But with many pockets of still water visible there is great concern about a malaria outbreak.”
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