The worst floods in Pakistan since 1929 have killed up to 1,200 people in the country’s north-west region and left thousands stranded Link to this video
Up to 1,200 people have already died in the disaster – which happened when extremely heavy monsoon rains triggered raging floodwaters in the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province – leading to criticism of the Pakistani government’s response.
Survivors face the threat of waterborne disease, which could kill thousands if health workers cannot deliver enough clean drinking water and treat and isolate any victims in crowded relief camps.
“To avert the looming threat of spread of waterborne diseases, especially cholera, we have dispatched dozens of mobile medical teams in the affected districts,” Sohail Altaf, the leading medical official in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, said.
Officials have yet to receive concrete reports of cholera cases but fear the likelihood of an outbreak is high, Altaf said. Patients with stomach problems caused by dirty water were being treated in government medical camps, he added.
The floods have forced 2 million people to flee their homes, and residents have voiced their anger at the government for failing to provide enough emergency assistance.
Government officials say they have deployed thousands of rescue workers, who have so far saved an estimated 28,000 people, and distributed basic food items.
The army has also sent around 30,000 troops and dozens of helicopters, but the scale of the disaster is vast and thousands more people remain trapped by the floodwaters.
The anger of flood victims poses a danger to a struggling government, which is competing with Islamist movements to deliver aid in a region in which the Taliban has a strong influence.
“We need tents. Just look around,” flood victim Faisal Islam said, surrounded by hundreds of people in makeshift shelters in Nowshera district.
Like many other residents in the country’s north-west, flood victims in Kamp Koroona village waded through the water to their damaged houses in an attempt to salvage what they could.
The army has provided some cooking oil and sugar, but Islam said survivors needed much more.
The disastrous flooding comes as the weak and unpopular Pakistani government struggles to cope with a faltering economy and an ongoing battle against Taliban militants.
Pakistan’s international partners have tried to bolster the government’s response by offering millions of dollars in emergency aid.
The UN and US said at the weekend that they would provide $10m (£6.3m) each in emergency assistance.
The US has also provided rescue boats, water filtration units, prefabricated steel bridges and thousands of packaged meals.
“The Pakistani people are friends and partners, and the United States is standing with them as the tragic human toll mounts from flooding in north-west Pakistan,” the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said.
But the US must compete with aid groups run by Islamist militants who also use assistance to increase support in Pakistan.
Representatives of a charity allegedly linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group distributed food and offered medical services to victims in the town of Charsada over the weekend.
“We are reaching people at their doorsteps and in the streets, especially women and children who are stuck in their homes,” an activist with the Falah-e-Insaniat charity, said.
Estimates of the death toll range from the figure of 870, provided by the prime minister’s office, to the 1,200 given by Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a senior minister in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, who warned the total could be even higher.
Originally reported by the Guardian. Read the original article here.