Islamabad, PAKISTAN, August 24, 2010 — World Vision says assessments conducted over the last few days near the towns of Muzaffar Garh and Kot Addo in Punjab paint a bleak picture of the impact of the flooding. The Christian humanitarian organization says its reports from Sukkur in the Sindh Province are equally dire. Contaminated water, cramped living conditions and a lack of sanitation are contributing to a rapid increase in cases of diarrhea and skin diseases in children.
“People are in urgent need of almost everything: shelter, health clinics, clean water, sanitation and livelihood support,” said Mike Bailey, World Vision’s regional manager for advocacy. “And that’s just what we gleaned from the areas we can reach. Flooding and the damage it has left behind mean there are areas we want to help that we still can’t reach.”
World Vision’s survey of households in Punjab found that the main health problems for children include: coughs (32%), stomach and intestinal infections (30%), and skin infections (14%). For older children, the primary problems are coughs (25%), skin infections (25%), and stomach and intestinal infections (18%). World Vision conducted a survey of 45 households in Punjab in addition to gathering information from staff at a health post in Punjab that sees 600 people a day. In addition, health figures were provided by the clinics and health posts in the north of Pakistan; these sites see more than 3,000 people a day.
“In conditions like these, something as simple as a cough can turn into a deadly case of pneumonia; a lack of clean water is likely to result in diarrhea for a small child,” said Bailey. “The fact is that many of these families may not be able to return home for at least three months, if not longer. Lack of adequate shelter, combined with an extreme shortage of health care and medicine, is making this disaster that much worse.”
The organization continues to operate three emergency health clinics in Lower Dir and so far has treated more than 4,100 people who are suffering from waterborne diseases and other illnesses related to the floods, including 1,845 children under 15. Staff from two additional clinics opened earlier in the response has been redeployed to areas with more pressing need. World Vision aims to establish 20 health posts and 40 mobile clinics throughout the hardest-hit areas.
The aid organization has already provided food, emergency items and health care to more than 30,000 people in Kyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province (KPK) since the start of the floods. In total the organization aims to provide assistance to 300,000 people across the country over the next three to six months, including 30,000 households in Sindh and Punjab provinces.
World Vision also plans to distribute tents, cooking items, water purification packets and hygiene kits to 280,000 people and food to at least 26,000, set up 20 Child-Friendly Spaces and 20 Women-Friendly Spaces to provide a safe and comfortable environment for children and women to interact with peers and receive support, and provide cash-based programming activities to 1,000 people.
Additional funding is still urgently needed. World Vision estimates it will need $20 million USD to provide basic emergency relief for at least 300,000 people; so far it has only brought in $6 million USD.
To donate to World Vision’s relief efforts in Pakistan, please call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453) or visit www.worldvision.org.