The World Health Organization (WHO) fears that catastrophic flooding in Pakistan will lead to nearly three million cases of malaria by January next year due to the explosion of waterborne disease outbreaks.
Dr. Palitha Mahipala, WHO representative in the Asian country, has asked the international community to make an effort to prevent as much as possible this very serious scenario that could affect states all over the country, in an interview to the newspaper ‘The News’, which was in turn picked up by GEO TV.
The death toll from this season’s devastating monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan since mid-June has risen to 1,700 and has already left 12,867 injured, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in its latest update, released on Friday.
According to the NDMA, 632 children and 340 women were among those who lost their lives in separate rain or flood-related accidents across the country, collected by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The UN agency also estimates that approximately 520,000 children in the country are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and need immediate treatment in a country where, prior to this tragedy, the average stunting rate for children under the age of five was already 50 percent in the affected districts.
The organization also regrets that damage to water supply systems and sanitation facilities has meant that 5.5 million people have been left without access to safe drinking water, a major cause of the outbreak of diseases such as cholera or malaria itself.
In the midst of this catastrophe, Mahipala has warned that the situation will be particularly serious in Sindh and Baluchistan, which account for the vast majority of cases detected so far and will increase exponentially in the coming months. From the two million cases expected in December, this could rise to almost three million by the beginning of the following month.
“Local governments are doing a good job but they need governments and the international community. The scale of the disaster is huge and the second wave of disasters has started in the form of disease outbreaks,” he has warned.