Malaria and diseases are spreading rapidly in flood-affected Pakistan. The death toll from malaria and other diseases in Pakistan’s flood-hit areas has reached 324, officials said on Wednesday, and the actress Angelina Jolie He said he feared that many of the people he met during visits to flood-hit areas this week “wouldn’t be made” if more aid didn’t arrive.
Thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open. It may take two to six months for the stagnant flood waters spread over hundreds of kilometers to recede. Already they have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever.
Hollywood actress and humanitarian Jolie visited people displaced by the floods with the international aid organization IRC in an effort to raise awareness. He looked at some of the worst affected areas of southern Sindh province.
“I’ve seen those who were rescued,” she said, but added that without adequate aid, others “wouldn’t be here in the next few weeks, they wouldn’t be able to make it.” His comments made while visiting the country’s flood response center were carried over to video footage shared by the country’s military on Wednesday.
Officials and aid workers have said more urgent assistance is needed for displaced families exposed to mosquito swarms and other threats such as snake and dog bites.
Despite the efforts of the government and local and foreign relief organizations, many people are in dire need of food, shelter, medical aid and medicines.
Due to Pakistan’s already weak health system and lack of support, displaced families have complained of being forced to drink unsafe water and cook food.
“We know it can make us sick, but what to do, we have to drink it to stay alive,” flood victim Ghulam Rasool told a local news channel.
A historic and intense monsoon brought rain nearly three times more than Pakistan’s three-decade average. Along with the melting of glaciers, it caused unprecedented flooding.
The deluge, which scientists say was exacerbated by climate change, has affected some 33 million people in the South Asian nation of 220 million. It has estimated $30 billion in damages to homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock.
“I’ve never seen anything like this… I’m overwhelmed,” said Jolie, who has made several trips to Pakistan after the deadly floods hit the south of the country in 2010.
Read more: Angelina Jolie reaches Pakistan to help the flood affected
“Aid is slow to arrive,” said Dr Farah Noureen, Mercy Corps’ country director for Pakistan, after visiting several submerged areas.
Giving priority to clean drinking water, he said in a statement late Monday, “We need to work in a coordinated manner to meet their immediate needs.” He said that health and nutrition is the most important need of the displaced population.
Pakistan’s finance ministry said it had approved 10 billion rupees ($42 million) for the disaster management agency to be used to purchase flood relief supplies and other logistics.
France is planning to host an international conference on climate-resilient reconstruction of flood-affected areas of Pakistan this year.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said that the bilateral meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron took place on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The Sindh provincial government said temporary health facilities and mobile camps in the flooded areas have treated more than 78,000 patients in the past 24 hours, and since July 1, over two million patients have been treated, six of them dead. It is done, it said.
It also confirmed 665 new malaria cases in internally displaced families in the same period, with another 9,201 suspected cases. It said a quarter of the more than 19,000 patients tested in the past 24 hours across the province were positive, taking the total to 4,876.
UN Pakistan said cases of malaria, typhoid and diarrhea are spreading rapidly, with the southern province reporting 44,000 cases of malaria this week.
Noor Ahmed Qazi, Director General of Health Services of South-West Balochistan Province, said malaria was spreading rapidly in areas around stagnant waters.
“We are receiving large numbers of malaria patients on a daily basis in medical camps and hospitals,” he told Reuters, adding that “we need more drugs and testing kits in flood-affected areas.”
The country’s disaster management agency said on Wednesday that the deaths from the disease did not count 1,569 people who died in the flash floods, including 555 children and 320 women.