News / Asia

UN Steps Up Aid Efforts in Flood-Stricken Pakistan

Lisa Schlein

United Nations aid agencies are stepping up efforts to provide assistance to millions of flood victims in Pakistan as the crisis continues to unfold.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning preventive measures must be taken to head off the outbreak of water-borne and communicable diseases.  

Three weeks into the crisis, aid agencies are getting a better view of the extent of the damage caused by the monsoon rains.

In some areas the floodwaters are receding, revealing the utter destruction left behind.  In other areas, U.N. agencies report the floodwaters continue to rise and continue to destroy homes, villages and crops.  

An estimated 20 million people have been affected by the flooding and the U.N. says at least 8 million of them are in urgent need of shelter, food and medical care.

The World Health Organization is particularly concerned about the increased risk of outbreaks of water-borne and communicable diseases.  It says unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, food insecurity and overcrowding in bad conditions make people susceptible to getting ill.

Daniel Lopez Acuna, acting assistant director-general for Health Action in Crises at the World Health Organization, says says hundreds of thousands of cases of skin infections, acute watery diarrhea and respiratory tract infections have been detected.

He says diseases spread by insects and animals such as malaria and dengue, as well as vaccination preventable diseases, such as measles and polio also are of growing concern.

"The risks can be reduced substantially for many of these diseases by basic preventive measures," said Acuna.  "Access to clean water, appropriate sanitation, hygiene and current food handling in a correct fashion as well as vaccination.  It is also important to insure there is referral capacity for those with life-threatening emergency medical conditions."  

Dr. Acuna says it is especially important to get help for those requiring obstetric care or people with chronic diseases in need of critical treatment.

He says women, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.  He warns 3.5 million children are at high risk of contracting deadly water-borne diseases, such as dysentery, diarrhea and cholera.

He says a good surveillance system is in place, which allows WHO and its partners to monitor and detect potential outbreaks of diarrheal and other diseases.

The World Health Organization has appealed for more than $56 million to fund emergency health projects.  So far, it only has received 20 percent of what it needs.  The agency warns it needs more funds to avoid further deterioration of the public health sector.

It says there is an urgent need to restore more than 200 health facilities and hospitals, which were damaged or destroyed by the floods.  

It says it plans to set up 15 diarrheal treatment centers and provide essential drugs and medicines to millions of people.  It adds, providing this assistance does not come cheaply.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs