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Pakistan facing second wave of death as flood crises worsens

Health threats continue to plague Pakistan as the prime minister warns of “massive job losses”.

Pakistani youngsters survey the collapsed houses by heavy floodwaters in Lundi village near Karampur, in southern Pakistan.
Pakistani youngsters survey the collapsed houses by heavy floodwaters in Lundi village near Karampur, in southern Pakistan.
Image: Anjum Naveed/AP/Press Association Images

AID ORGANISATIONS OPERATING in Pakistan are warning of a second wave of deaths as a result of the country’s extensive flooding.

The threat of waterborne diseases continues to rise as millions of displaces people live in makeshift camps without adequate clean water and sanitation.

Floods which have devastated the country for five weeks have receded in parts of north and central Pakistan, but are continuing in the south and are expected to remain for several weeks.

Triple threat

The World Food Programme says that Pakistanis are facing a triple threat: hunger, homelessness and desperation.

“People have lost seeds, crops and their incomes, leaving them vulnerable to hunger, homelessness and desperation – the situation is extremely critical, the head of the programme,” Josette Sheeran, said today.

Unicef says that the disaster has affected some 8.6m children already, and warns that children are particularly vulnerable to diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.

The UN’s children’s fund also said that crops covering a 4.25m acre area have been destroyed or damaged, leaving people vulnerable to malnutrition.

Oxfam’s director in Pakistan, Neva Khan, said that reconstruction has to start even though people are still being evacuated from their homes:

One month into a crisis we would expected the situation to have stabilised and the long term planning to have begun. But we are still in phase one of an increasing catastrophe, evacuating people, providing them with shelter, trying to get clean water and sanitation to those people who need it.

Pakistan doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for the emergency phase to be over before starting the reconstruction.

Counting the cost of the crisis

Pakistan’s prime minister warned today that the country’s economic growth will drop by two full percentage points because of the floods and lead to “massive” job losses. Addressing his cabinet on a live televised broadcast, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said:

This is a pensive moment in our history. There will be massive job losses, serious social implications and a snowball effect on manufacturing and services.

Gilani said that inflation could double to 20%. He added that 4,000km of roads and 1,000 bridges had been destroyed in the disaster, which would seriously affect the cost of delivering goods.

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg arrived in southern Pakistan today, and visited aid camps near Sukkur, one of the worst affected regions.

Clegg praised aid efforts made to date, but said that more donations were needed and warned that the disaster would have serious repurcussions:

I think the sheer scale of this, it is really quite difficult to comprehend. The terrible thing is that it has got a long tail. It has got a lot of aftershocks that are going to last for a long time.

Clegg met with President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the flooding, and also spoke to him about his recent trip to Afghanistan where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Pakistan: in photos

Pakistan facing second wave of death as flood crises worsens
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  • Pakistan Floods

    A Pakistani boy washes his face as volunteer teachers show how to practice proper hygiene at a camp for people affected by floods at Tibba Jamal Wala village in Muzaffargarh district, Punjab province, Pakistan on 1 September, 2010. Teachers from the Balamory school in nearby Multan travel to different camps everyday to teach flood affected children school subjects and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of disease. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)Source: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
  • Pakistan Floods

    An aerial view shows a flooded area of Chuhar Jamali, Sindh province, southern Pakistan, 1 September, 2010. The floods have receded in parts of north and central Pakistan but are continuing in the south. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)Source: AP Photo/Vincent Thian
  • Clegg visits Pakistan

    Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (Right) speaks to Pakistan's President Ali Zardari, at the airport in the town of Sukkur, during a visit to southern Pakistan. (Andrew Winning/PA Wire/Press Association Images)Source: Andrew Winning/PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • Clegg visits Pakistan

    Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaks to a boy in an improvised school-room in a camp for people displaced by the floods, near the town of Sukkur, during a visit to southern Pakistan on 1 September, 2010. (Andrew Winning/PA Wire/Press Association Images)Source: Andrew Winning/PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • Pakistan Floods

    A man wades through floodwaters in Sajawal near Hyderabad, Pakistan on 1 September, 2010. Pakistan's economic growth will plunge 2 percentage points because of the floods and lead to "massive" job losses, the prime minister warned Wednesday in a speech that predicted a grim couple of years for the already fragile country. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)Source: AP Photo/Shakil Adil
  • Pakistan Floods

    A family waiting for Army helicopter to drop relief at a flooded area in the southern city of Thatta, Sindh province, southern Pakistan, 1 September, 2010. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)Source: AP Photo/Vincent Thian
  • Pakistan Floods

    Pakistani displaced by flooding reach for food aid given by volunteer along main road near Marli, Sindh province, southern Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)Source: AP Photo/Vincent Thian
  • Pakistan Floods

    People walk in flooded area of Sajawal near Hyderabad, Pakistan on 1 September, 2010. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)Source: AP Photo/Shakil Adil
  • Pakistan Floods

    Pakistani women mourn over the death of their relative, who was died in the house collapsed due to heavy floodwaters in Lundi village near Karampur, in southern Pakistan, 1 September, 2010. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)Source: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed
  • Pakistan Floods

    A Pakistani boy helps rebuild their flood-damaged house in Muzaffargarh district, Punjab province, Pakistan, 31 August, 2010. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)Source: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

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