Thursday, December 8

Pakistan’s flood death toll rises to 123

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the authorities to immediately activate the National Health Emergency Response Unit to urgently deal with the outbreak of water-borne diseases in the floods-hit areas in southern parts of the country as the death toll from flood-related incidents reached 123 in the country, Xinhua news quoted officials as saying on Tuesday.

Most of the people died as a result of drowning in flood waters, falling roofs, snakebites and water-borne diseases including gastroenteritis, said health officials and aid agencies.

Floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in southern Sindh province have so far destroyed nearly 500,000 mud houses, said Zafar Qadir, Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

The NDMA chief informed the Prime Minister in a briefing in Islamabad on Monday that about 80 percent of standing crops have been swept away by floods only in Sindh province. He said that floods have so far affected 400,000 acres of agriculture land while 100,000 cattle-heads are dead or missing, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office.

According to NDMA, 80 percent of bananas, dates, chili, sugarcane and cotton crops has been destroyed. This could cause a shortage of fruit and vegetable this year in Sindh and other parts of the country.

On Monday heaviest spell of rain also occurred in many parts of southern Sindh province. The meteorological office has forecast more rains this week.

Prime Minister Gilani took serious notice of the spreading of water-borne diseases in the flood-hit areas of Sindh and directed the relevant authorities to extend full support to the Sindh government for prevention as well as cure of these diseases, said the PM office.

Thousands more have been affected in eastern Punjab province.

Many affected people have complained about shortage of food, clean drinking water, medicines and tents.

As the monsoon spell continues to inundate more areas, NDMA said that flood water may take up to two to three months to dry up. Officials fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases due to polluted domestic water supplies and standing water.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned in a report of possible outbreak of endemic disease in the wake of recent floods in southern Sindh.