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WHO declares highest level health emergency in Pakistan

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A flood-affected child sits under a charpai near by his family alongside flood waters after heavy monsoon rains in Jaffarabad district of Balochistan province on Augusr 31, 2022. -AFP
A flood-affected child sits under a charpai near by his family alongside flood waters after heavy monsoon rains in Jaffarabad district of Balochistan province on Augusr 31, 2022. -AFP

GENEVA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) Wednesday classified the flooding in Pakistan as the highest level of emergency and released $10 million from the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) to treat the injured, deliver health supplies and prevent outbreaks.

In a briefing, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “under our internal grading system, WHO has classified the flooding in Pakistan as a grade 3 emergency, the highest level, which means all 3 levels of the organization are involved in the response: the country and regional offices, and headquarters.”

Dr Tedros said that weeks of heavy monsoon rains have caused extensive flooding and landslides, resulting in death, displacement and damage. More than 1,000 deaths have been reported, and almost 900 health facilities have been damaged,” he said.

“3/4 of Pakistan’s districts and 33 million people have been affected, with 6+ million in dire need of humanitarian aid. Damage to health infrastructure, shortages of doctors and limited health supplies are disrupting health services, leaving children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers at increased risk.”

The WHO DG added that Pakistan was already facing health threats including COVID-19, cholera, typhoid, measles, leishmaniasis, HIV and polio.

“Now, the flooding has led to new outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, skin infections, respiratory tract infections, malaria, dengue, and more.”

The loss of crops and livestock, he said, will have a significant impact on the nutrition and health of many communities who depend on these resources.

“Floods in #Pakistan, drought and famine in the Greater #HornofAfrica, and more frequent and intense cyclones in the Pacific and Caribbean all point to the urgent need for action against the existential threat of #climatechange,” he added.


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