WHO Warns Of ‘2nd Disaster’ In Pakistan
New York: Unprecedented floods devastated Pakistan, claiming over 1,500 lives and submerging one-third of the country.
But the worst may not be over yet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is deeply concerned about the possibility of a ‘second disaster’ in Pakistan — diseases and deaths.
“I am deeply concerned about the potential for a second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of diseases and deaths following this catastrophe linked to climate change that has severely impacted vital health systems leaving millions vulnerable,” said WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.
He said people are forced to drink unsafe water, which can spread cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases.
“The water supply is disrupted, forcing people to drink unsafe water, which can spread cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. Standing water enables mosquitoes to breed and spread vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue,” said Tedros.
He further observed that the catastrophic floods will lead to “more unsafe births, more untreated diabetes or heart disease, and more children missing vaccination.”
Tedros advised quick action in Pakistan to protect health and deliver essential health services.
“Health workers in Pakistan are stretched to the limit as they do all they can to deliver critical services amid the destruction. Nearly 2,000 health facilities have been fully or partially damaged. Together with the government of Pakistan, UN and NGO partners, WHO is setting up temporary health facilities and medical camps and helping to re-supply medicines to other health centres. We are increasing disease surveillance so outbreaks can be detected early and people can get the treatment they need,” he said.
The Pakistan government has taken note of the potential dangers and is providing safe drinking water and access to toilets with help from WHO – which is providing water purification kits and oral rehydration salts – and partners.